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Auckland region

Air Quality

Auckland straddles a narrow isthmus between the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean, and our unique location means we have an enviable advantage for air quality. We have lots of wind to disperse pollutants, and the air that arrives here is relatively clean – there’s no one upwind of us polluting it.

However, our daily activities put pressure on this natural advantage; the way we travel, the fuels we use, the way we heat our homes and our industries all impact on our air quality. If we don’t keep an eye on all of this, and manage it appropriately, there’s a danger that our natural advantage will be squandered.

Breathing clean air is critical to protecting our health. The cleaner the air is, the better it is for us to breathe. Reduced air quality also affects the way Auckland looks. In winter, calm conditions cause pollutants to stay close to the ground, especially in the evenings when people are using their fireplaces. Emissions from vehicles and fireplaces can also cause an unsightly brown haze to form, especially around the CBD. Often these events also come with unpleasant smells.

There are three main sources of air pollution in Auckland: transport, domestic heating and industry. Natural sources such as sea salt are also present. Our monitoring programme also picks up natural events such as volcanic eruptions and even bushfires in Australia.

In winter, our major sources of air pollution are the emissions from the fireplaces many of us use to heat our homes. Burning solid fuels like wood and coal in open fireplaces and wood burners emits PM2.5 and PM10, and in winter we use our fires so much that PM emissions more than triple. PM2.5 and PM10 have significant impacts on our health, so it’s important for us to continue to reduce concentrations in our air.

Industry also emits pollutants to our air. The majority of these are from combustion processes – burning fuel for heat and steam to use in industrial processes. In summer, 25% of PM10 emissions is from industry, and in winter 7%.

Regional Summary
PM10 at towns in this region

The most significant air pollutant in New Zealand are small airborne particles in our air (known as particulate matter). Particulate pollutants are of most concern in New Zealand because of their high concentrations in some of our towns. Exposure to high levels of airborne particle pollutants has the potential to cause respiratory and cardiovascular issues. View a factsheet on why air quality is important here.

  • Annual average
  • Highest daily average



% of guideline

What is this graph showing me?

The graph shows the annual average or highest daily average PM10 concentrations for monitored town(s) in this region for the year selected. The PM10 concentrations are shown against the guidelines for air quality, and where concentrations exceed 100% of the guideline this can be a cause for concern, especially if this occurs on a frequent basis. (For a town that has more than one monitoring site, only one representative site is shown here).

Data table
Towns 10-year Trend annual average (µg/m³) Highest daily average (µg/m³) 2nd highest daily average (µg/m³)

What is this table showing me?

The table shows the annual average, and the dates of the highest and second highest daily average PM10 concentrations for monitored town(s) in the year selected. The 10-year trend indicates, in terms of PM10, whether the air quality has been improving, showing no measurable change, or declining over the last 10 years.

Towns 7

Towns in the Auckland region

Select the town you'd like to see information on by clicking the buttons below or navigate using the map.