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Mount Maunganui residential air quality

Mount Maunganui residents can now check local air quality in real-time. Click on the sensors on the map to get information and guidance.

Note: index and health indicators are referenced from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The 11 low-cost sensors provide an indication of air quality in residential Mount Maunganui and are supplementary to our more accurate reference grade network of monitors. The displayed reading is established from the measurement of fine particles 10 or 2.5 microns or less — shortened to PM10 and PM2.5 – and nitrogen oxide (NO2).

Air quality changes throughout the day, and you will likely see the readings change accordingly. For example, natural sea salt during on-shore winds can cause higher particulate matter (PM) readings.

Guidance is provided to manage your health and adjust outdoor activities in response to higher pollutant levels. Use your own judgement and consult a medical practitioner if severe or prolonged negative health effects are present.

Find out more about the work we’re doing to better manage air quality in the area on the Mount Maunganui industrial air quality project page.

Notice offensive odour, billowing black smoke, spray drift or dust clouds? Call our Pollution Hotline on 0800 884 883.

Frequently asked questions

Air pollution is a complex mix of tiny particles and gases that can be produced naturally or from human activity. The main sources of air pollution in New Zealand are from wood and coal fires (for home heating), motor vehicles, industrial emissions, open burning and natural sources such as sea salt, sand, pollen and soil.

The National Environmental Standards for Air Quality set a guaranteed minimum level of health protection for people living in New Zealand and exist to help address air pollution.

An air sensor is a simple way of referring to technology that can directly-read pollutants in the air, at a price that makes it possible to have a higher density of monitoring.

For particulate pollution (PM10 and PM2.5), the air quality indication algorithm uses longer averages (preceding 12 hours) during periods of stable air quality and shorter averages (preceding three hours) when air quality is changing rapidly, such as during a pollution event.

For NO2, the average of the last hour is used.

The air quality reading is an indication of air quality at that time. The higher the number,  the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern. For example, a reading of 50 or below would represent good air quality, while a reading over 300 would represent hazardous air quality.

Our network of 11 reference grade monitors come at a substantial cost (approximately $500,000 per year) but are highly accurate. We contract an independent provider to operate these monitors in the industrial area where pollution is most concentrated.

Air sensors can fill in a gap in our network by providing an indication of air quality, however these are not regularly calibrated and therefore we anticipate are not quite as accurate. 

While air sensors are useful for providing general information about air quality, they do have limitations. Occasionally they could report questionable data points and give a bias that may result in data that systematically over or underestimates the actual pollutant concentration.

Air pollution, including dust that settles in this area and basically all urban areas, is a mix of both natural and human activity sources. Natural sources include sea salt, sand, pollen and soil. Human activity sources, on any given day, could contain particles from activities associated with the Port of Tauranga like shipping emissions, industrial process and particles from vehicles such as from the exhaust, tyre, road and brake wear to name a few.

Through our Regional Air Plan and the resource consent process we can put controls in place around some of these activities but many, like shipping or vehicle emissions and some Port based activities like log activity, we currently cannot.

Particle pollution is linked to a number of health problems. The colour-coded categories provide an indication of air quality in your area, which groups of people may be affected and steps you can take to reduce your exposure to air pollution.

The risk from air quality pollution varies from person to person so use your judgement and consult a medical practitioner if severe or prolonged negative health effects are present.

Air quality is a big focus for the Regional Council. Our Regional Air Plan sets air quality rules that are consistent with national requirements. This plan identifies the threshold for when a resource consent is required, through which we can set specific conditions requiring dust be reduced.

When consents expire and applicants reapply, we take a fresh look at the activity factoring in the best available information at the time. With technology constantly improving, better air quality data now available and the Mount industrial area now designated as a polluted airshed, this means significant improvements can be made.

We carry out enforcement action when people break the rules or don’t comply with their consent conditions. This includes fines and prosecutions.

A lot of good things are happening in the Mount industrial area, with many businesses sealing exposed surfaces, installing dust fences and technology being improved. We are seeing the effect of this in our monitoring with less exceedances being recorded. However, some of this good work is being partially offset by an increase in traffic and other activities throughout the Mount industrial zone.