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Beating air pollution important for Hawke’s Bay

Dr Kathleen Kozyniak

Beating air pollution is the theme of this year’s World Environment Day. It’s a timely reminder for Hawke’s Bay people to make sure they’re not contributing to the problem with smoky fires.  

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council monitors air quality in the Napier and Hastings urban areas.   

Regional Council climate and air quality scientist Dr Kathleen Kozyniak says smoky fires in built-up areas pollute the air creating a health risk. The cold winter months from now to August are when people need to burn only dry wood in compliant fires to reduce smoky emissions.  

“Please make sure the wood is dry. It burns more efficiently with less smoke.  Wood smoke contains very small particles called PM10 which are a health risk. Please don’t burn painted or treated timber or drift wood as they add extra toxins into the air and can corrode your burner,” she says.  

Dr Kozyniak says there’s been a big improvement in air quality levels in Napier and Hastings in recent years, and she congratulates the people who have made changes and helped make this happen.   

“The improvement is mainly due to residents taking advantage of the Regional Council’s Sustainable Homes programme (formerly Heat Smart). We give financial assistance to those wanting to upgrade old fires. I also encourage people to check out our Good Wood scheme for tips on the best wood to burn.”  

The Regional Council’s client services manager Mark Heaney looks after the Sustainable Homes programme. He’s delighted that air quality has improved 54% in Napier and Hastings since istarted in 2009.       

“13,500 homes have used the programme which is 25% of the population. This is really good news for the air quality of Napier and Hastings and the health of our communities,” says Mr Heaney.     

The Regional Council now offers a Sustainable Homes programme across Hawke’s Bay to help fund warmer, drier and healthier homes. Rural communities in Wairoa and Central Hawkes Bay can take part. For more information please visit https://www.hbrc.govt.nz/services/sustainable-homes/. 

Rural landowners can refer to the Good Practice Outdoor Burning Guide on the Regional Council’s website. The regional rules that apply to burning can also be checked at hbrc.govt.nz, search:#burning.  

Anyone who has a problem with smoke from a neighbouring property can call the Regional Council's 24-hour Pollution Hotline on 0800 108 838. 

5 June 2019

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