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Archive for April, 2019

New airshed proposed for Mount Maunganui Industrial Area

Following concerns about air quality and the recently measured breaches of national environmental standards for air quality, BOPRC has proposed a new airshed for the Mount Maunganui industrial area (BOPRC, 2019).

If approved this will be the first airshed in New Zealand gazetted to manage both PM10 and SO2. Currently, there are 71 airsheds gazetted in New Zealand for the purposes of the regulations.* Except Marsden Point, which was gazetted to manage SO2, the remaining 70 airsheds were gazetted to manage PM10.

*Full title: Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Air Quality) Regulations 2004.

NES breaches in Mt Maunganui

You may have missed it but tucked away on BOPRC’s website is some big news from their air quality monitors that were installed in Mount Maunganui at the end of last year. The new monitors have recorded seven breaches of the national environmental standards (NES) for air quality since November 2018.

In November there was one (permitted) exceedance, and in December two breaches, of the 24-hour NES for PM10 (50 µg/m3) recorded at Whareroa Marae (location below).

In January 2019 there was also a breach of the NES for PM10 measured at the De Havilland Way monitoring site. There were a further two breaches in February (De Havilland Way and Rail Yard South) and a breach in March (Rail Yard South).

These breaches of the NES for PM10 all appeared to arise from industrial sites.

In January 2019, four (permitted) exceedances of the lower limit, 1-hour NES for SO2 (350 µg/m3) and one breach of the upper limit (not to be exceeded) 1-hour NES for SO2 (570 µg/m3) were measured at the Rata Street monitoring site.

These short-term, elevated concentrations SO2 all appeared to arise from cruise ships at the Port.


Skrillex’s music could protect against mosquitoes

Dubstep music is a real buzzkill when it comes to the survival behaviors of mosquitoes.

Sound is critical for mosquito feeding and reproduction, researchers working to thwart the world’s most dangerous animal know. But if you really want to mess with their abilities to munch and mate, try blasting Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.” The electronic song’s trademark blend of high and low frequencies disrupts signals between Aedes aegypti, a study published in Acta Tropica reveals.

The “yellow fever mosquito” bit less often and had far less sex—meaning fewer future pests—when researchers cranked the Skrillex.

The findings lay groundwork for “music-based personal protective and control measures.”

Source: BBC News

Health effects of air pollution update

The ISEE and European Respiratory Society have released a joint position statement on the health effects of air pollution and it is really well written! For example:

Particulate matter, ozone and nitrogen oxides show a typical pattern of effects, such as oxidative stress and inflammatory reactions, with consequences similar to those of tobacco smoke. The best-known pollutant is particulate matter. We know from countless experiments and observational studies that particulate matter causes inflammatory reactions in the lungs and entire body, promotes blood clotting, causes cardiac arrhythmia, increases arteriosclerosis and alters lipid metabolism. In addition, particulate matter can penetrate the brain or affect a foetus. Those same biological changes can be seen in active and passive smokers. The same diseases are produced, including heart attacks, strokes, respiratory diseases and lung cancer.

It also has a cool new diagram showing all the ways that air pollution harms the body (yes, you’ll be seeing this one again from us):


Overview of the effects of air pollution on the whole body observed in population-based studies. [Source: Thurston, G.D., et al., (2017). Eur Respir J, 2017. 49(1).]


Importantly, it gives an indication of current thinking on annual NO2 – the annual guideline looks set to halve (yes you read that right – 20 µg/m3) in the current WHO review.