ORC is reminding people to burn dry firewood after the first air quality exceedances in the region for the year

Media Release - 14 May 2021

Concentrations of PM10 exceeded the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality in Alexandra and Cromwell three times over the last week.

As temperatures drop around the region, the Otago Regional Council (ORC) is reminding people to burn dry wood and breathe easier over the colder months.

The reminder comes as the first air quality exceedances for the year have been recorded in Cromwell and Alexandra over the last week.

These exceedances occur when the concentration of PM10 (airborne particles less than 10 micrometres across) is higher than 50 micro-grams per cubic metre of air, which is the limit set in New Zealand’s National Environmental Standards for Air Quality.

Air Quality Scientist Sarah Harrison encouraged residents to be mindful of air pollution when heating their homes.

“We know that temperatures in Otago drop very, very low over the colder months, and many older homes are not well-equipped to keep out the cold. When considering home-heating options, ORC recommends taking a look at clean heating options like heat pumps and pellet fires. Proper insulation is also a must for keeping your house warm.

“If you are depending on a log-burner for your home heating, please burn only dry, seasoned wood. Dry wood burns hotter, releasing fewer pollutants into the air and providing more efficient heat for your home.

“We also recommend against banking your fire down overnight, as a low-burning fire produces excessive smoke. It’s more efficient to burn on high heat with good airflow, and restart your fire as needed.”

For more information on clean home heating, the Cosy Homes Trust provides a range of resources and tips, at www.cosyhomes.org.nz/

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