There were only five instances in the Waikato region during 2016 where the level of fine particles in our air’s urban areas exceeded regional guidelines, down from a peak of 50 per year in the mid-2000s. This is a record level of achievement.
This indicator measures the number of times the regional guideline for the level of fine particles in our air has been exceeded each year, across all air quality monitoring sites in urban areas within the Waikato region.
Fine particles in the air are referred to as ‘PM10’ particles – those which are smaller than 10 microns (1000 microns = 1 millimetre). Sources of PM10 particles include vehicle emissions, industry emissions and home fires.
PM10 can affect people’s health, causing respiratory problems, especially for asthmatics, small children and the elderly. Some affected people can end up in hospital. For those who are particularly sensitive, the effects of high levels of PM10 can be fatal. PM10 also affects air by reducing visibility, which if particularly severe, could affect the safety of people moving around our urban areas on foot or by road.
Monitoring these sites helps councils to identify and manage air quality issues. When sources of excessive PM10 emissions can be identified, councils can work with the people or organisations involved to help them follow the guidelines mean and reduce their output of PM10. Raising awareness of what contributes to high levels of PM10 in our air – and the effects it can have - also helps people find out what they can do to keep PM10 levels down (for example, by not burning wet wood, as this produces high PM10 levels).
Check out related information on our website and other organisations’ websites listed on our Waikato Progress Indicators’ Useful Links page.
DATA SOURCE AND SUPPORTING INFORMATION
Data for Waikato monitoring sites are available online annually via Waikato Regional Council’s Environmental Indicators > Air Quality.
Data for most monitoring sites throughout New Zealand, and for selected countries similar to New Zealand, are reported through the Environmental Health Indicators New Zealand (EHINZ) website(external link).
Update details: Annual data to 2016 with 2017 results expected in early 2018.
Customised data request requirements: Waikato Regional Council Environmental Scientist.
DATA AVAILABILITY – OTHER THAN WAIKATO REGION:
Territorial Authority (TA) disaggregation: No
Other regions: No
New Zealand: No
Other countries/ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): Yes (selected countries reported by the Ministry for the Environment)