Horizons air quality information online

Air quality monitoring information for the Horizons Region is now available on the Land, Air, Water, Aotearoa (LAWA) website.


The air quality module is the latest addition to the LAWA site which also provides data on river and lake quality, swimming and real-time flow, rainfall and groundwater data throughout the country.

Horizons Regional Council environmental scientist Harold Barnett says they have a small programme to monitor the Region’s air quality with sites at Taumarunui and Taihape.

“We measure the concentrations of fine particles, or air pollutant, called PM10 at these sites and feed this information back into the LAWA site,” he says.

“Air quality across our Region is generally pretty good year round compared to the other regions in New Zealand. However it can become degraded in some towns on cold still days and nights when a combination of human activities such as domestic heating, location, geography and air temperature traps the fine particles close to the ground.”  

Mr Barnett says everyone can help to minimise the degree of air degradation this winter by being considerate and taking care when using wood burners and fires. 

“Burning green, wet or treated wood, plastics or household waste should be avoided. Their burning releases undesirable chemicals and gases into the air.

 “Using dry firewood creates warmer and more efficient fires that smoke less and emit fewer fine particles.  It’s also important to take care not to burn waste in your backyard that may release toxins and impact air quality.”

Mr Barnett says visitors to the LAWA site can now see and compare the latest hourly and average daily data for PM10 nationally.

“People can also find longer-term seasonal and annual trends and see how our Region measures up compared to the rest of New Zealand.”

Launched in 2014, LAWA provides an easy-to-use portal for the public to access information about the quality and availability of New Zealand’s natural resources online at www.lawa.org.nz