Environmental risks and management

This page outlines what we mean by environmental risks and why we need to manage them carefully.

What are environmental risks?

New Zealand, like other countries, is exposed to a range of substances that can damage our health and the health of our environment.

These substances are:

  • hazardous substances
  • new organisms 
  • ozone depleting substances.

The types of damage that can be caused include: 

  • contamination of land, rivers, lakes and the marine environment from hazardous substances used in industrial processes
  • damage to the health of native fauna and flora from new organisms
  • damage to the ozone layer from ozone depleting substances.

Management of environmental risks

When well managed, these substances and new organisms help us achieve important economic goals and improve our well-being.

For instance:

  • new organisms are used to enhance crops and develop medicines
  • hazardous substances (eg, pesticides) are used to protect our native species and crops from harm. 

Report on hazardous substances compliance system

In October 2018, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) appointed a Technical Working Group (TWG) to evaluate the hazardous substances compliance system. The TWG has submitted its report to the Chief Executive of the EPA and MfE. The report is on the EPA’s website see Evaluation of hazardous substances compliance system.

The report raises some useful insights into the operation of the hazardous substances compliance system. MfE welcomes the report and appreciates its findings and recommendations for improving the hazardous substances compliance system.