Cold snap spikes pollution levels


The weekend's cold autumn weather prompted many people to light their home fires, pushing up the region's air pollution levels.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council said the still, cold weather, with little wind, meant the inversion layer kept the smoke from wood burners close to the ground.
The council's air recorder at St John's College in Hastings showed PM10 levels exceeded National Air Quality Standards on Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
The Napier recording site in Marewa also reported higher levels of air pollution but at 45 micrograms per cubic metre over the 24 hour average it was only just under the National Environmental Standard of 50 micrograms/m3.
The PM10 is the size of fine particles that can enter our lungs and can result in health problems, especially for people with respiratory conditions.
Last week's readings have prompted the regional council to highlight its funding programmes available to help people retrofit homes built before 2000 with insulation and cleaner heating equipment. It included the latest model low emission wood burners, pellet burners and heat pumps.
More than 200 applications have been approved for funding through the regional council's Heat Smart programme since November 2009. The first exceedence last year was on May 29.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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