I believe fine particulates in the air — PM10, in this region mostly (by far) from woodburners — are extremely dangerous to our health. So does the National Government (and so did its predecessor).
The Hearings Committee of the Regional Council this week is considering oral submissions on its proposed remedies to the problem, even as they hope and pray that Government will extend our compliance deadline for reducing PM10 emissions until 2020.
At this point, there’s a logistical case for postponing the deadline beyond the current 2013 … an unfortunate reality brought about by the Regional Council’s inaction on a requirement it was first alerted to over six years ago. Assuming the delay is granted (we’ll know around February 2010), the human costs in terms of ill health, loss of workdays and productivity, and loss of school attendance, fall squarely on the shoulders of the HBRC.
As the DHB points out in its Health Impact Assessment on the matter, the poor bear the brunt of PM10 pollution. Maori in particular will suffer from the seven year delay.
I’ll be presenting my submission today, which develops these points and makes some suggestions for targeting the Regional Council’s approach and financial assistance on our lowest income residents. Many of these individuals and families live in rental units (perhaps as many as 69% if they are Maori), and are especially vulnerable to the discretion of landlords as to if or when heating improvements might occur … and at whose cost.
I say landlords’ feet need to be kept to the fire on this one. I think it’s downright immoral to pad one’s profit by renting someone an unhealthy home.