Bay air quality data now available

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Fog shrouding the Kaimai Range: Bay of Plenty air quality data is now available on LAWA website. Photo/file
Fog shrouding the Kaimai Range: Bay of Plenty air quality data is now available on LAWA website. Photo/file

Tauranga residents can now monitor air quality online.

Air quality monitoring information is available on the Land, Air, Water, Aotearoa (LAWA) website allowing people to read about efforts to improve air quality in the Bay of Plenty by providing access to monitoring data recorded at sites within the region.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council, which manages the region's air quality, uses this data to monitor pollution levels. The council is responsible for ensuring national environmental standards for air quality introduced in 2004 are met.

Council environmental scientist Shane Iremonger said air quality affected everyone and clean air was vital.

"While the Bay of Plenty's air quality is generally good, if contaminant concentration gets too high it can affect people's health. PM10 (particulate matter smaller than 10 micrometres), for example, can accumulate in the respiratory system and often cause health problems."

PM10 is emitted from the combustion of fuels, such as wood and coal (from home heating and industry) and petrol and diesel from vehicles. Natural sources such as volcanoes, wind-blown dust, and sea salt can also produce PM10.

The contaminant is also formed in the air from reactions between gases or between gases and other particles.

"We hope publishing this monitoring data on LAWA will help grow awareness and understanding of air quality issues and the work we do to keep our air clean and free of pollution," Mr Iremonger said.

This work includes identifying the most significant air quality issues in the Bay of Plenty.

The council released a draft Regional Air Plan in April that outlines the issues in detail and proposes solutions to address them. There have been a series of public workshops, liaison with industry and various advertising to ensure public have input into this draft plan. Feedback is still welcome, and people have until close of business tomorrow (Friday June 17th) to provide input.

Access air quality data at: www.lawa.org.nz

- Bay of Plenty Times

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