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.

You can read my submission here.

Tom Belford

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  1. I often wonder about the smoke when I drive from Napier to Hastings or Havelock North and see huge fires, producing lots of dirty smoke, coming from orchards etc. They are obviously burning 'damp' wood etc.

  2. The impact of PM10's in Hawkes Bay is minimal in comparison with the aerosols dissipated by the 'organic orchardists.'

    These are associated with respiratory problems, cardiac problems, cancers plus numerous other reactions that add up to the Bay having the worst health figures of any region in New Zealand … and all this over the last ten years.

    Our Regional Council appears contrivedly oblivious to such – let alone PM10's – they cannot even properly maintain their one monitor in Hastings that measures such, and their data analysis could only be described as abysmal (Government prescribed, minimalist). This also applies to their ability to critique contracted analyses (NIWA) which, it would seem are only interested in furthering 'principal components analyses' based models.

    Of interest, it appears that if you want to obtain data from either the council or NIWA, to redo their analyses or look at further analysis that there are costs involved.

    Data is not freely available to those who have essentially funded such extravagance in the first instance.

    The Regional Council does not and cannot measure aerosols, they simply do not have the apparatus to do so, nor the interest.

    Any 'clean air' claims made by them are simply intuitive artifice, somewhat akin to the rather naive beliefs expressed by mayor Yule that he has somehow 'gotten on top of the gang notion that the returns from benefits, and bless his heart, employment, are somewhat better than the returns from criminal activity (burglary and P manufacture).

    Really, from where do these folk emanate?

  3. Correction: It appears the Regional Council does now have a tidy, solar powered unit that will serve this function … and it is where one would expect it to be to measure sewer gas, alongside the sewage treatment plant … for you wouldn't really expect orchardists to be generating sewer gas to protect fruit … would you?

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