Could you cycle in a town as fouled as Masteron in winter on a still night? The picture above is from the Wairarapa Mail’s July 2012 story on Masterton smog levels. The photo below is famous and used all over the web. It’s Masterton in 2004. From the photo above you can see digital photographs have improved, but Masterton’s air quality hasn’t. Can anyone say “ineffective GWRC response” and cough at the same time?
Air pollution suppresses all outdoor activities, such as jogging and cycling, and winter rugby practice. There is a link between a dependence on burning wood for domestic heating and obesity levels in children and adults, caused by being forced to be inside during winter. For a lot of people it isn’t the cold, or the dark, but air quality that keeps them from exercising.
In 2007 the Australian Standards Committee recommended halving the allowable PM10 particulates in the relevant A/NZ Standard. It was vetoed by the Australian Home Heating Association, despite the obvious conflict of interest that woodheater manufacturers profiting from liassez-faire pollution had. (How crazy is that? Do we let Tobacco Companies get their way and veto tobacco control?)
By the halved standard of 25 micrograms of PM10 particulates in 24 hours just how many towns in New Zealand would be officially polluted? All of them?
Do you stop cycling in winter? What are the worst places for cycling air quality in the region? What can be done about it?
Think woodsmoke isn’t harmful? Visit Clean Air New Zealand.
Think woodsmoke is harmful? Best not visit New Zealand in Winter.