Hastings and Regional Councillors should do more than “apologise on bended knee” for their appalling negligence in failing to ask for the consent of the residents of Whākatū for the proposed inland port.
Or is describing it as negligence being too generous? Was this an arrogant act of dismissal to a marginal, largely Māori community, that did not warrant such attention? And are we seriously expected to believe that they would have asked for “consent” if they had not so conveniently forgotten?
No, apologies are not enough. To show that they really mean it, and that they do actually care about the residents in the community, actions are required too.
In my opinion it is outrageous that so many trucks should drive through a residential zone when there are other alternative routes. I am sure we all know how harmful diesel exhaust fumes are but just so that you can’t say you didn’t know I have added the facts at the end.
So there WILL be casualties. There will be children scarred for life with respiratory disease, who will spend time in hospital, who will die early. There has already even been a child hit and killed by a truck on Station Road! It will happen again, sooner or later — a toddler has often run across the road to our workplace where trucks are constantly turning. Such un-necessary suffering can be fairly and squarely blamed on the local politicians who made the decision to allow trucks to drive along these residential streets, pumping out exhaust fumes as they go through their gears at the intersections, knowing there was an alternative. I ask them, “Are you prepared to have blood on your hands?”
Because there is an alternative, and it is really simple: Railway Road and Station Road are closed to ALL through truck traffic. Only trucks servicing the four or five businesses at the western ends of these two roads are allowed in and they can only get access by coming along Railway Road from the western end, from Te Ara Kahikatea (which is surely what it was built for?). Groome Place can also only be accessed this way from the west through Turners and Growers. On the map below, red is closed to all trucks and blue is local delivery only. This will feed all trucks to and from the Inland Port via Te Ara Kahikatea and keep the residential part of Whākatū safer and habitable.
- Particulate matter or soot is created during the incomplete combustion of diesel fuel. Its composition often includes hundreds of chemical elements, including sulphates, ammonium, nitrates, elemental carbon, condensed organic compounds, and even carcinogenic compounds and heavy metals such as arsenic, selenium, cadmium and zinc.¹ Though just a fraction of the width of a human hair, particulate matter varies in size from coarse particulates (less than 10 microns in diameter) to fine particulates (less than 2.5 microns) to ultrafine particulates (less than 0.1 microns). Ultrafine particulates, which are small enough to penetrate the cells of the lungs, make up 80-95% of diesel soot pollution.
- Particulate matter irritates the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, contributing to respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses and even premature death. Although everyone is susceptible to diesel soot pollution, children, the elderly, and individuals with preexisting respiratory conditions are the most vulnerable. Researchers estimate that, nationwide, tens of thousands of people die prematurely each year as a result of particulate pollution. Diesel engines contribute to the problem by releasing particulates directly into the air and by emitting nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides, which transform into “secondary” particulates in the atmosphere.
- Diesel emissions of nitrogen oxides contribute to the formation of ground level ozone, which irritates the respiratory system, causing coughing, choking, and reduced lung capacity. Ground level ozone pollution, formed when nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbon emissions combine in the presence of sunlight, presents a hazard for both healthy adults and individuals suffering from respiratory problems. Urban ozone pollution has been linked to increased hospital admissions for respiratory problems such as asthma, even at levels below the federal standards for ozone.
- Diesel exhaust has been classified a potential human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Exposure to high levels of diesel exhaust has been shown to cause lung tumours in rats, and studies of humans routinely exposed to diesel fumes indicate a greater risk of lung cancer.
Previous BayBuzz coverage: Napier Port vs Whākatū