Air pollution monitoring gear in Glengarry

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 25/04/2013

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A children's playground in Glengarry will help provide authorities with air quality data for Invercargill.

Environment Southland has installed a high-volume air sampler in the playground behind the Glengarry Shopping Centre.

Environment Southland air quality scientist Owen West said the sampler would be used as a secondary monitoring site to the regional council's primary site in Pomona St, in South City - an area with the worst air quality in the city.

The air-monitoring gear in Glengarry would be used to compare air quality in different parts of the city, Mr West said.

The results would be used to inform the future air quality plans, he said.

Last year, Invercargill breached national air quality standards 23 times. In 2011, there were 14 exceedances, with 35 recorded in 2010, Mr West said.

A large number of older burners and the burning of coal and wood in domestic fires contributed to the poor air quality in Invercargill, he said.

"We are hoping to get a comparison between an area where there may be more older burners to an area where burners are cleaner," he said.

The council needed to work towards meeting the government's new national environmental standards for air quality, which require fewer than than three breaches a year by 2016 and no more than one by 2020, Mr West said.

Last month, Environment Southland policy and planning manager Ken Swinney said some tough decisions needed to be made on how to heat homes in the region.

Southland's air quality plan was being reviewed and changes were afoot, so Environment Southland was keen to get feedback from Invercargill and Gore residents through a "breathe easy" consultation document and questionnaire.

Options being considered by Environment Southland to meet the new environmental standards and reduce pollution in Invercargill and Gore included phasing out domestic open fires and non-compliant solid-fuel burners, banning outdoor burning between May and August, initiating a bylaw to restrict the installation of solid-fuel burners in new and existing homes, and banning indoor open fires.

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- The Southland Times

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