An environmental report released shows that air quality in New Zealand is generally good.
Our air 2018, produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ, shows that while some previously known issues persist, progress has been made and levels of some pollutants are declining.
“The report shows that using wood and coal burners to heat homes in winter continues to cause issues in some places. This remains the largest single cause of human-generated poor air quality in New Zealand,” Government Statistician Liz MacPherson said.
“The report also shows vehicle emissions as a leading cause of poor air quality in some places.
“However, information from monitoring sites shows levels of some particulate matters have decreased over the past decade, which is a welcome sign, as is the resulting slight improvement in overall health outcomes,” Ms MacPherson said.
“This report paints a series of separate pictures. The overall news is good, but we still have some specific issues to address. Progress is being made with those but there’s more to do,” Deputy Secretary at the Ministry for the Environment Amanda Moran said.
“The situation is getting better but it’s still not perfect and we must keep working on improvements. Clean air to breathe is a key part of well-being for all New Zealanders. We know the health impacts from air pollution can be serious, and those with a pre-existing condition such as asthma are more susceptible.
“Responsibility for that continued improvement is shared by all: central and local government, industry, communities, and individuals. Technology changes, for example improved wood burners or electric vehicles, will help but we also need to change our behaviours, like getting out of our cars and being careful what we burn.
“We need to ensure the National Environmental Standard that covers this area remains fit for purpose and that all areas of government policy-making, such as transport policy or urban planning, take air quality issues into account,” Ms Moran added.
Our air 2018 is the latest report in the environmental reporting series published by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ. Government Statistician Liz MacPherson said these reports play a vital role in providing a clearer picture of the state of our environment.
“Like other reports in this series, Our air 2018 is well-founded on robust and quality-assured data and shows us where efforts to improve our air quality would be best focused,” Ms MacPherson said.
Source: Stats NZ