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Southland region

Air Quality

Air quality in Southland is variable, with winter causing some high air pollution days, particularly in Invercargill and Gore, much of which can be attributed to smoke from home chimneys.

Southland’s air quality is mostly good, however during winter months and particularly within the Invercargill and Gore airsheds, air pollution can be severe, with exceedances of the national standards for PM10.
Poor air quality in Southland is primarily caused by smoke from home fires, with coal a popular fuel and older housing stocks in many areas.
Environment Southland monitors air quality in Invercargill, Gore and Winton, with Invercargill and Gore being gazetted airsheds.
The review of Southland's Regional Air Plan in 2015 has seen a range of new rules developed, many of which relate directly to home heating within the airsheds. These will phase out the use of non-compliant fires by 2034 and also restrict what can and can't be burnt.
Everybody wants to breathe clean air but due to Southland’s climate, it is a careful balancing act to ensure we don’t replace one health risk (air pollution) with another (cold conditions). This is why a longer phase-out has been adopted and a Clean Air Loans scheme developed to assist people with the change to cleaner heating.

Regional Summary
PM10and PM2.5at 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.

Particulate matter (PM) is primarily a concern in Southland towns during winter when wood and coal is burnt to heat homes. There are sites monitoring PM10 and PM2.5 in Invercargill and Gore, while a further site in Winton monitors PM2.5. 

PM monitoring history at towns in this region

  • Annual average
  • Highest daily average
  • Exeedance
Showing:
PM10

Guideline


Concentration






% of guideline

What is this showing me?

The graph shows the annual average and highest daily average PM10 concentrations, and number of exceedance days for the year selected. These are shown against air quality guidelines of 20 µg/m³ for annual averages and 50 µg/m³ for daily averages. The World Health Organisation published new guidelines in September 2021 of 10 µg/m³ for annual averages and 45 µg/m³ for daily averages. Values above the guidelines can be a cause for concern as exposure to high PM10 values can cause short and long term health effects. The trends in the table below indicate whether the PM10 concentrations have been improving, showing no measurable change, or declining over the previous 10-years. (For towns that have more than one monitoring site, a representative site is shown).

Data table PM10
Towns 10-year Trend annual average (µg/m³) Highest daily average (µg/m³) 2nd highest daily average (µg/m³) Number of exceedances
PM2.5

Guideline


Concentration






% of guideline

What is this showing me?

The graph shows the annual average and highest daily average PM2.5 concentrations, and number of exceedance days for the year selected. These are shown against air quality guidelines of 10 µg/m³ for annual averages and 25 µg/m³ for daily averages. The World Health Organisation published new guidelines in September 2021 of 5 µg/m³ for annual averages and 15 µg/m³ for daily averages. Values above the guidelines can be a cause for concern as exposure to high PM2.5 values can cause short and long term health effects. The trends in the table below indicate whether the PM2.5 concentrations have been improving, showing no measurable change, or declining over the previous 10-years. (For towns that have more than one monitoring site, a representative site is shown).

Data table PM2.5
Towns 10-year Trend annual average (µg/m³) Highest daily average (µg/m³) 2nd highest daily average (µg/m³) Number of exceedances
Towns 3

Towns in the Southland region

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