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Sources of particles in air

Why we monitor sources of particles in air

Photograph of open fire.

This indicator estimates the proportion of particles (PM10) in the air coming from industry, motor vehicles and domestic heating in the Waikato region. In Hamilton around 70 percent of particles in air come from home fires, with outdoor rubbish burning and motor vehicles each contributing just over 10 percent. In Taupo, Tokoroa, Turangi, Ngaruawahia and Matamata domestic fires contribute around 90 percent of the particles. In Te Kuiti, Putaturu, Waihi and Te Awamutu the contribution of domestic fires is less, at around 60 to 70 percent, with industry contributing around 20 to 40 percent.

PM10 can affect people’s health by causing respiratory problems and affect our environment by reducing visibility. Waikato Regional Council estimates the amount of PM10 being produced by motor vehicles, industry and home heating to determine where measured levels of PM10 are coming from. We need to know where the PM10 in our air comes from, so we can reduce existing sources of pollution and predict any future problems that may arise. We can use this information to predict how changes in the types of home heating and fuels used (such as wood to gas), are likely to affect local air quality.

What's happening?

The main sources of air pollution in the Waikato region are motor vehicles, home heating and industry.

Waikato Regional Council monitors air pollution from motor vehicles, home heating and industry in:

  • Hamilton
  • Tokoroa
  • Taupo
  • Te Kuiti
  • Putaruru
  • Matamata
  • Waihi
  • Te Awamutu
  • Ngaruawahia
  • Turangi

We usually monitor air pollution in winter, as levels of air pollution are usually highest during this season. We estimate where particles in air come from and how much is coming from each of the three main sources. This information helps us to identify potential impacts on air quality in different parts of the region and changes in air quality over time.

Particles (measured as PM10) are smaller than 10 microns across, about a fifth the width of a human hair. Particles are the main air pollutant of concern in the Waikato region.

>>Find out more about these data and trends


More information

Useful links

When this indicator is updated

The indicator data is updated about every three to five years as new emission data becomes available.

Contact at Waikato Regional Council

Air quality scientist - Science and Strategy Directorate.

Last updated 16 December 2008