Science Media Centre

Science Media Centre

Featured

Better air quality monitoring needed – PCE

Posted in In the News

New Zealand air quality is good but could be better, says the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, calling on the government to change the way it measures air quality. 

Haze over Christchurch. Credit: Ross Younger

Haze over Christchurch. Credit: Ross Younger

Commissioner Dr Jan Wright discussed the state of New Zealand’s air quality in her commentary on the Government’s 2014 Air Domain Report, released today.

“The state of our air is generally good, as we would expect in a windswept maritime country with a small population and little heavy industry,” Dr Wright said in a release. “Air quality is poorer in some towns and cities during cold calm days in winter, but, even in these places, air quality is high on most days.”

In her commentary, the Commissioner has recommended a review of the regulation governing the management of New Zealand’s major air pollutant, the tiny airborne particles called particulate matter.

Dr Wright said that the National Environmental Standard for Air Quality should be based on the measurement of smaller particles, specifically those categorised as PM2.5 (particles smaller than 2.5 microns), over longer periods. Current regulations focus on short term fluctuations of the levels of larger (10 micron, PM10) particles in the air.

“The smaller airborne particles are, the greater is the risk to those who inhale them,” states the report. “Similarly, it has been discovered over time that the health impacts of long-term exposure to particulates are much greater at a population level than the impacts of short-term exposure.”

“Thus, there is a strong case for a rule aimed at long-term exposure to fine particles – a limit on the annual average concentration of PM2.5.

Continue reading “Better air quality monitoring needed – PCE

The Latest

Science Alert: Experts Respond

Potential test for chronic fatigue syndrome – experts respond

Newly discovered biomarkers could form the basis of a long sought-after blood test for chronic fatigue sufferers. Chronic fatigue syndrome, known medically as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) is a disabling disorder, in which symptoms range from extreme fatigue and difficulty concentrating to headaches and muscle pain. However, to date there has been no reliable test to […]

In the News

The science behind weather balloons – 3 News

3 News weather presenter Kanoa Lloyd asks Maurice Hodgson how he helps meteorologists measure weather conditions using hydrogen-filled balloons. An excerpt (read in full and watch the video here): Weather balloons are one of the most important tools used in forecasting. Every day, hundreds of them are released, simultaneously around the world. But behind many of […]

Reflections On Science

The business of wildlife conservation – Wayne Linklater

Writing in the Dominion Post, Victoria University Wellington Associate Professor of Conservation Science Wayne Linklater looks at the economics of our native wildlife, saying “Wildlife conservation should not be a charity but a business.” An excerpt (read in full here): The benefits of rent-a-kakapo New Zealand’s wildlife – whales, dolphins, red deer, tahr, albatross, kiwi, […]

Briefings

SMC BRIEFING: Kauri dieback – what happens now?

Kauri, one of New Zealand’s most iconic tree species, are dying. It is becoming apparent that Kauri Dieback disease is here to stay. But how widespread is the pathogen behind Dieback? Can we hold off the disease using fungicides? Or could we breed a new generation of Kauri trees resistant to the disease? Ahead of […]

Copyright 2015 Science Media Centre (New Zealand)

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy