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CLEARING THE AIR
The Waikato region generally enjoys good air quality, but in some areas air pollution can build up. This happens mostly in our inland city and towns.
Visibility monitoring in the Hamilton Basin shows that visibility varies a lot from day to day. On some days Mount Ruapehu (170 km away from Hamilton) is visible from some of the higher buildings in Hamilton. On other days, Mount Pirongia (30 km away) is not.
The Waikato region is pretty big, so different areas have different populations, weather patterns, landscapes and activities that affect air quality. Most air pollution comes from localised point sources such as from large industries and non-point sources such as domestic heating and vehicles.
However air pollution is also affected by natural sources such as weather, landscapes, seaspray, windblown dust, plant pollen and geothermal emissions.
What does Waikato Regional Council do to help to protect air quality?
- In our Regional Policy Statement, Waikato Regional Council has identified the need to reduce the adverse effects on air quality caused by cumulative, diffuse, broad scale or multiple discharges from home heating appliances and transport.
- Our Waikato Regional Plan advocates for education about domestic sources of air contaminants, regulation of them, and about decreasing transportation sources of air contaminants such as benzene.
- We require resource consents with specific conditions for activities that might release a significant amount of contaminants into the air.
- We work with communities and businesses, helping them learn more about what they can do to help improve air quality. We also support industry-based guidelines and codes of practice that help reduce air pollution.
- We have tested vehicle emissions, promoting vehicle maintenance.
- We encourage land use planning that minimises reliance on motor vehicles.
- We encourage development of efficient and effective public transport.
- We are examining options for regulating domestic sources of carbon monoxide.
- We provide information for householders on reducing air pollution from home fires.
How can you help?
- When selecting home heating methods give consideration to non-solid fuel alternatives as these produce less contaminants such as benzene.
- If you do purchase a burner, ensure that it is appropriately sized to your heating requirements and give consideration to the efficiency and emissions rating of the burner. If you burn wood, use only dry wood.
- Reduce your fuel requirements by ensuring your home is insulated.
- Keep your car well tuned so that it burns clean.
- Whenever possible, try to reduce the number of times you use a private vehicle. You could try: carpooling, using public transport (trains, buses and shuttles) cycling or walking.