Many West Coasters have an important relationship with the forestry and mining industries, which are a huge part of Coast history. Locally accessible supplies of wood and coal have made these fuels firm favourites for home heating and are for many people important for warm homes and hot water. Sometimes domestic wood and coal heating can create air quality problems, like too many fine particles in the air. If high enough, these fine particles can cause, and/or exacerbate, respiratory illnesses. These are a potential source of social and financial stress for locals and Kiwis as a whole. So it’s within all our interests to know what our air quality is like. It is also a statutory requirement for Council to assess air quality.
Council’s science team has a number of initiatives aimed at improving our understanding of regional air quality.
Long term continuous monitoring of fine airborne particulates has been undertaken in Reefton since 2006. Surveys have been undertaken in 2020 and 2021 to find out more about the spatial distribution of particulates across Reefton. These spatial surveys are NOT for evaluating the performance of individual households and discharges. But they help us identify areas where quality is poorest and may require further monitoring. Sometimes the role of geography and climate can be just as important as how things are burnt when it comes to smoky air.
A spatial survey of fine airborne particulates (PM 2.5) was carried out in Westport over the 2022 winter, as well as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide surveys in both Reefton and Westport.
New projects in Westport and Greymouth are underway for winter 2023.
Air quality data for Reefton and climatology data (wind speed and direction, and barometric pressure) for Pigeon Ck CWS (NIWA site in Inchbonnie) can be viewed by clicking on the icon below. This accesses the council’s raw data dashboard.
For all users accessing the data viewer dashboard, please note:
• The air quality and climatic data displayed is ‘raw’. It has come straight from the Council’s automatic telemetry system and partner agencies, so has not been through a quality control process. It should therefore be treated as preliminary data and may be subject to change. Read our full legal notice here.
• For help using the dashboard please see our help page.