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Manawatū-Whanganui region

Air Quality

Overall air quality in the Manawatu-Wanganui region is very good to good, thanks generally to its windy and exposed environment, dispersed and small population centres (we only have two cities, Palmerston North and Wanganui), relatively light industry and low vehicle numbers.  In winter this quality is slightly degraded in the populated centres by the increase of fine particulate concentration from domestic heating units and outdoor burning.

Horizons Regional Council has two gazetted airsheds (Taihape and Taumarunui - they are small townships in the Central North Island) where it monitors fine particulate concentrations (PM10).  The towns were selected from a winter monitoring programme of the regions 12 largest urban areas from 2001 to 2003.  PM10 is a contaminant that is typically associated with burning -  domestic heating (open fires and woodburners), outdoor burning, industry and vehicle emissions, although natural sources such as dust, pollen and sea salt  also contribute.  Emissions from domestic heating units is the region’s main air contaminant of concern. The Regional Policy Statement focus for air is avoidance of unacceptable risks to human health and ecosystems, and achieving compliance with National Environmental Standards is a high priority. Emphasis is placed on controlling discharges from solid fuel burners and open fires, the main source of air pollution in our region, but also recognises the importance of controlling discharges from other sources such as transport and industry and also outdoor burning.  Air quality is worst in urban areas where cold, calm conditions occur over winter and there is a large number of open fires and older woodburners.

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.

PM10 is the main contaminant of concern for Horizons with domestic heating the major source.  This source contributes in excess of 80% to the winter fine particle concentrations (mean daily) in bothTaihape and Taumarunui. Exposure to PM10 can have short and long term health effects. We report on annual and daily PM10 concentrations each year.

  • 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 2

Towns in the Manawatū-Whanganui region

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