Air quality work urged

Some areas saw spikes in air pollution, mainly from burning wood and coal. Photo: NZ Herald
Photo: NZ Herald
The Southern District Health Board has urged the Otago Regional Council to reconsider the proposed pause of its air quality work.

The council has proposed a two-year pause on air quality work, including subsidising clean heating options.

The region suffers air quality issues in Arrowtown, Clyde, Cromwell, Alexandra, Milton, and elsewhere.

But the council said it needed to pause and “rethink” its approach until 2023-24, when it would implement a new air quality programme that focused on rules on air emissions.

Its 2021-31 plan includes a 47.5% rates rise in year 1 and the council said its proposal to only monitor air quality would help to keep the rates rise at that level.

Health board public health policy and strategy team leader Tom Scott said it was important to recognise the role of air quality on health.

Heating technology was improving, bringing the cost of running heating down.

The council should acknowledge phasing out solid fuel burning might have to be an option in its troubled air sheds.

Comments

When your neighbor has a heart attack or a stroke, when children in the neighborhood are having asthma attacks we don't think we are partly responsible but every time we burn solid fuel in our fireplaces or startup are diesel SUV's we are contributing to their suffering. 8.7m die every year from air pollution. New study in UK shows direct rise in child asthma complaints to GP's and drops in air quality, Fires used by just 8% of the population in UK produces 3X more small particle pollution than all their road transport combined. The ORC could literally save lives and reduce the suffering of thousands if they choose take air pollution serious.

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