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Published: 2002-10-16 00:00:00

Half the pollution complaints to Environment Waikato in the past year were about air pollution, and most of these were about industrial discharges, the Council’s Regulatory Committee heard this week.

The Council investigated 845 complaints in the past year, slightly fewer than the previous year. Customer Service Team Leader Graeme Cooper said another 20 percent of complaints were about water discharges and 20 percent about land discharges. The rest were about coastal issues, navigation safety and incidents on rivers and lakes.

Environment Waikato operates a 24-hour environmental incident response service.

The high number of air incidents reported indicated the effect that air pollution could have. One incident could affect an entire neighbourhood and generate a number of complaints. Odour was the most common cause of complaints, along with spray drift, burning, dust and other discharges.

Water pollution complaints were mainly about discolouration or dairy effluent, while land complaints related to dumping of refuse, cars, whiteware or waste oil. Coastal issues were mostly about removal of sand from beaches, water quality issues from boat contamination or stormwater outfalls, Mr Cooper said.

River and lake complaints were mainly about unidentified pollution sources, stock in waterways or use of machinery on river beds. These could cause significant effects and were often undertaken without necessary consents because of a lack of awareness of the legal requirements or reluctance to go through the consent process. Other complaints were about culverts, fords or dams.

Navigation safety issues generated 27 calls, mostly about speeding jetskis, with moorings causing other complaints.

Chairman Jim Howland said the number of complaints indicated the community’s concern that their environment was looked after.