Ambient outdoor air pollution is a major cause of death and disease globally. The health effects range from increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits, to increased risk of premature death. An estimated 4.
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Worldwide ambient air pollution accounts for:. Pollutants with the strongest evidence for public health concern, include particulate matter PM , ozone O 3 , nitrogen dioxide NO 2 and sulphur dioxide SO 2.
The health risks associated with particulate matter of less than 10 and 2. PM is capable of penetrating deep into lung passageways and entering the bloodstream causing cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and respiratory impacts. It is also the most widely used indicator to assess the health effects from exposure to ambient air pollution. In children and adults, both short- and long-term exposure to ambient air pollution can lead to reduced lung function, respiratory infections and aggravated asthma.
Maternal exposure to ambient air pollution is associated with adverse birth outcomes, such as low birth weight, pre-term birth and small gestational age births. Emerging evidence also suggests ambient air pollution may affect diabetes and neurological development in children.
Air Pollution infographics
Considering the precise death and disability toll from many of the conditions mentioned are not currently quantified in current estimates, with growing evidence, the burden of disease from ambient air pollution is expected to greatly increase. Nitrogen dioxide concentrations can decrease rapidly with distance from the road. For example, concentrations at some peak sites represent a highly localised impact that may extend no more than 10 metres.
The average of urban background site data is typically around half the concentration of the peak sites.
Air Pollution in World: Real-time Air Quality Index Visual Map
This also reflects the highly localised nature of nitrogen dioxide exposure. Between and , 23 monitors in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Hamilton, Northland and Wellington out of 92 monitors across the country with enough data to calculate a trend had decreasing nitrogen dioxide. Three sites one in Christchurch and two in Wellington had an increasing trend.
The rest had no definite trend. The diffusion tubes are useful as a screening method and to assess pollutant trends. However, results should be considered as indicative only. Diffusion tubes are less accurate than the costlier regulatory continuous monitors to assess compliance with standards and generally overread. All but a few peak sites show concentrations below the World Health Organisation nitrogen dioxide annual air quality guideline value. More information may be found at the Resources section of this website and via the following reports and links:.
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Brochures & Fact Sheets
What is air pollution? What are the sources of air pollution? In New Zealand the sources of air pollution vary seasonally and by location but major contributors typically include: Vehicle emissions Wood burning for home heating Industry Natural occurring sources, such as dust, sea salts, and pollens. Where do transport-related pollutants come from?
Which air pollutants are of concern? These pollutants are assessed against national standards, targets and guidelines: nitrogen dioxide NO2 small particulate matter PM10 and PM2.
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What are the health effects of air pollutants? Exhaust fumes and dust from the road have soiled my house, will the Transport Agency pay to clean it? We are committed to acting in an environmentally and socially responsible manner , and give effect to the Environmental and Social Responsibility Policy [PDF, 32 KB] through the Environmental Plan , which sets out the strategic environmental and social vision for managing key areas, including the following air quality objectives: A1.
Understand the contribution of vehicle traffic to air quality. We also have the following responsibility to ensure that individual vehicles comply with regulated requirements for environmental performance: Development and enforcement of the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Exhaust Emissions external link , which sets out exhaust emission standards for vehicles entering the New Zealand fleet. How is dust from road works and construction managed? Examples include: route selection - choosing a route that moves the road away from sensitive receptors.
Existing state highways Once the road is built, air quality effects can be managed by optimising how the state highway including any tunnels is used,such as providing information and technology to assist motorists with making smarter travel choices before or during their journeys.
State highway maintenance activities To minimise air pollution effects resulting from the maintenance of state highways, we require all contracted suppliers to develop and implement an Environmental and Social Management Plan [PDF, KB] , based on ISO , for each network operating contract. Vehicle emissions We ensure that vehicles entering New Zealand comply with current exhaust emissions standards requirements. What is being done about smoky vehicles? How does the Transport Agency monitor transport-related impacts?
Air pollution is also linked to childhood cancers. Pregnant women are exposed to air pollution, it can affect fetal brain growth. Air pollution is also linked to cognitive impairment in both children and adults.
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As well as affecting our health, pollutants in the air are also causing long-term environmental damage by driving climate change, itself a major threat to health and well-being. This month, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that coal-fired electricity must end by if we are to limit global warming rises to 1. If not, we may see a major climate crisis in just 20 years.
The conference next week will call for urgent action, seeking agreement on a target for reducing deaths from air pollution. How air pollution is destroying our health. Air pollution is hard to escape, no matter how rich an area you live in. It is all around us. Air pollution is closely linked to climate change - the main driver of climate change is fossil fuel combustion which is also a major contributor to air pollution - and efforts to mitigate one can improve the other. Meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement to combat climate change could save about a million lives a year worldwide by through reductions in air pollution alone.
WHO report: Air pollution and child health: prescribing clean air. The conference will raise awareness of this growing public health challenge and share information and tools on the health risks of air pollution and its interventions. Video: How air pollution impacts your body. How dirty is the air where you live? This platform whose diverse membership includes researchers, civil society, UN agencies and other partner institutions reviews the data on air quality and health.
For example, the platform is working on techniques to more accurately attribute air pollution coming from different sources of pollution. It is also working on improving estimates of air quality by combining the data from various air quality monitoring networks, atmospheric modelling and satellite remote sensing. Factsheet: Outdoor air quality and health. Video: Did you know - using a clean cookstove can protect your health?