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.
New open fire place ban
The discharge of particles from domestic solid-fuel burning open fires installed in the Tokoroa Airshed on or after 21 May 2013 is prohibited.
The discharge of particles from domestic solid-fuel burning open fires installed in the Te Kuiti Airshed on or after 3 July 2013 is prohibited.
A domestic solid-fuel burning open fire –
(a) means an appliance or a structure inside a domestic building that can burn solid-fuel but cannot effectively control the rate of air supply to the combustion zone; and
(b) to avoid doubt, includes a fireplace to which paragraph (a) applies that has a cover or doors that cannot effectively control the rate of air supply to the combustion zone i.e. any fire where the combustion chamber is not totally enclosed e.g. brick or masonary fireplaces, visors, open hearths, Jetmaster fireplaces.
These bans have been triggered by Regulation 24A of the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Air Quality) Regulations 2004.
What affects air?
Most air pollution comes from localised point sources such as from large industries and non-point sources such as domestic heating and vehicles.
Air quality declines as:
- our population increases
- we use more resources
- we increase industrial activity.
Home fires, outdoor burning, motor vehicle emissions, industry and livestock farming are all activities that affect air quality in the Waikato region. Air pollution can also come from natural sources such as from geothermal areas, salt spray and plant pollen.
Find out about clean heat and how smoke affects your health in the flyer below:
Air quality - 'Clean heat' and 'Smoke affects your health'
(192 kb, 10 seconds to download, 56k modem)
In a 2000 survey 23 percent of people living in the Waikato felt that vehicle emissions damage air quality. This was much higher in Hamilton where 36 percent mentioned vehicle emissions. Industrial emissions were the most commonly mentioned activity damaging air quality in South Waikato, Taupo and Otorohanga district council areas.
Keeping our air clean
Waikato Regional Council helps protect and improve air quality in the region. We monitor several important air contaminants:
We require resource consents for activities that might release a significant amount of contaminants into the air. Resource consents set conditions on discharges to air that prevent or limit unwanted effects on air quality.
We educate communities and businesses about how to help improve air quality and we support industry-based guidelines and codes of practice that help reduce air pollution.