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Air

Did you know?

  • Every day, each New Zealander inhales about 14,000 litres of air, the equivalent of about 150 full bath tubs.
  • Pollutants in the air can affect our health, because we inhale them into our lungs.
  • New Zealand has good air quality in most locations for most of the time. However, air quality can be affected in about 30 locations, in which around 53 per cent of the population live.
  • Home heating is the main source of small polluting particulates in populated areas in the winter. On average, 45 per cent of households in New Zealand burn solid fuels (coal and wood) for home heating.
  • The use of fossil fuels affects the air we breathe and produces greenhouse gases. Transport is the main source of carbon monoxide in New Zealand.
  • Pollution by small particulates appears to be improving in some of the main centres. Levels of other air pollutants (nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and benzene) are either at acceptable levels or have decreased, with a few exceptions at some locations.

For more information about air quality see Environment New Zealand 2007 at www.mfe.govt.nz

What can you do?

  • Live in Christchurch and have an open fire? Financial assistance can be provided to replace open fires and burners with cleaner heating options. Visit www.cleanheat.org.nz to see if you are eligible.
  • A well insulated home is easier to heat – ceiling insulation can save you up to $400 per year.
  • Live in Nelson? To do your bit to reduce air pollution in the winter, look out for Good Wood suppliers who have committed to supplying dry wood.
  • Fire users – is your flue clean? Get it cleaned at the start of every winter. Use kindling to start your fire and add big pieces of wood only once there is a good bed of embers to reduce the emission of small particulates into the air.
  • Building or renovating your home? Use materials that retain heat naturally, treat the sun as free heat for your home and save money on heating.
  • Help lower air pollution, fuel use, and traffic congestion by leaving your car at home, especially for short trips.

Take your next step towards sustainability at sustainability.govt.nz