There are calls for Kiwis to start using cleaner and greener home-heating alternatives following poor air quality results in some towns around the country.
Early results from Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA) monitoring stations show some towns in New Zealand have already exceeded the air quality reading this winter.
Because of those results, LAWA is encouraging New Zealanders to look at using cleaner home-heating appliances such as heat pumps, pellet burners, or ultra-low emission burners.
The next best alternatives according to LAWA are electric, gas, or oil heaters.
Though some towns saw below average levels of air pollution during the Covid-19 lockdown, Teresa Aberkane of LAWA says things would have been different if lockdown was over winter.
“During lockdown, traffic pollution dropped significantly at roadside locations which you would expect with fewer vehicles on the road,” says Ms Aberkane.
“This is good news, however unlike most developed countries, cars are not our primary air quality polluters. New Zealand’s dominant source of PM10 and PM2.5 air pollution comes from people burning wood and coal to heat their homes.”
LAWA also recognises that clean heating may not always be an option for New Zealanders.
To reduce emissions from wood burners, the organisation advises people to only burn dry, non-treated wood from a trusted supplier and use an efficient burning technique.