Why is air quality important?

Good air quality is fundamental to our wellbeing.

The presence of contaminants in the air can have adverse health and nuisance effects on people, property and the environment.

Small particles of pollution in the air come from:

  • Human activities such as burning of fuels for home heating, car exhaust emissions, road dust and quarrying activities
  • Natural sources such as wind-blown dust, plant pollen, sea salt and volcanic eruptions

People with pre-existing respiratory and heart conditions, diabetes, the young, and older people are particularly vulnerable to air pollution. These tiny airborne particles of pollution, known as particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) can cause a range of health effects such as:

  • headache and anxiety
  • irritation of eyes, nose and throat
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • impacts on the respiratory system, liver, spleen and blood, and the reproductive system

Air pollution can also affect our day to day activities and quality of life. It can be a hazard or nuisance by:

  • Smoke blown towards roads can reduce visibility and create a traffic hazard
  • Smoke and odour make the air unpleasant and unhealthy to breathe
  • Particulates such as ash are a nuisance by landing on houses, cars, washing, and play areas
  • Particulates can contaminate garden soil, fruit and vegetables, and drinking water collected from roofs

Read more about air quality(external link) on the Ministry for the Environment website.

Tasman’s air quality
How is our air quality today?

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