Woodsmoke: Regulatory failure is damaging public health

6 12 2014

Dr Dorothy Robinson of the University of New England in New South Wales, writes this important paper on the regulatory failure of woodsmoke and the damage it is doing to public health.

Published in the journal Air Quality and Climate Change, Volume 48, No. 4

Central Otago’s polluted towns get a guernsey. I even get a reference for Hey Central Otago, what’s Plan B?

The New Zealand Herald is completely clueless: reason #1

9 11 2014

The New Zealand Herald, fresh from its election season of pushing right wing candidates, is riling against Auckland Council’s push to regulate open fires, not for their inadequacy and ineffectiveness (by still allowing polluting wood heaters) but from some messed in the head libertarian viewpoint. Take this stupid cartoon:
FFS  it is not because of the power companies that the rules are being introduced. It is for the pollution they cause, and they don’t go damn well far enough. If you want financial independence from power companies install solar panels, insulate your home and wear warm socks. If you want cheaper electricity prices vote the opposite to what the Herald wants you to do, and vote against continued privatisations of electricity assets, but this is the reality dumbasses, the smoke does not go up andhouses don’t sit in beautiful isolation from another.


The truth is that your neighbour’s smoke is killing you and some people don’t want you to have any say about it.

We need to have a basic right to clean air. We need 100% prohibition on wood burning.

Sam Morgan’s a bit of a dill

24 10 2014

Wanaka residents have every right to be angry with Sam Morgan as shown in this article from the Otago Daily Times.
Yes Sam was a bit of a dill for thinking he could burn off without annoying people, but he is not the only one at fault. The Otago Regional Council and the Otago Rural Fire Authority are both complicit by having policies that aren’t based on the reality of what burn offs are like in this, the real world, where smoke from fires doesn’t go up in the air out of harms way like a child’s drawing of a chimney on a house does.

It is all well and good saying ”If smoke is obnoxious beyond the boundary, then it is considered that it would be an offence.” but all burn offs either piss someone off, or very much have the potential to. Unless someone lives on some huge station then the smoke is going to cross their property boundaries onto neighboring and even distant properties and the smoke will cross onto roads. The law that allows burn offs in the first place is very much at fault. The law needs to be changed to reflect the reality of the situation. The residents of Wanaka need to be protected from the likes of the unthinking Sam Morgan, and others like him, and up and down the country everyone needs to be protected from this kind of stupid behaviour.


No Shit Sherlock!!!!

15 10 2014

“The air is not as clear in Napier as previously thought – with monitoring showing pollution from winter fires is much higher in some suburbs than others.” – from this story on Stuff.

Well No Shit Sherlock!!!

If they measure it in suburban places where they haven’t measured it before , why the hell are they surprised that there is poor air quality?

It’s the same old story. There are too many woodburners and they just don’t do enough monitoring.

The ambient air quality standards (of PM10 50ug/m3 averaged over 24 hours, with no more than 1 exceedance a year) are a shit standard that allow for much harm and death and really should be tightened, but the aim shouldn’t be to just comply with them. The aim should be to get as close to zero as possible.

From another news story, this time on ABC Australia:

“Deadly air pollution continues to be a problem in Australia because air quality standards are being misused, say experts.

The standards governing six key outdoor pollutants are being interpreted as an acceptable upper limit of pollution, says health statistician Associate Professor Adrian Barnett of the Queensland University of Technology.

But, he adds, this approach is not supported by scientific evidence.”
To paraphrase the A. Professor: “He says many reports to state governments imply it is safe to pollute up to the limits provided in the National Environment Protection Measure for Ambient Air Quality (Air NEPM), but the governments are getting bad advice.”

113 people die each year in Hawke’s Bay. 1175 across all of New Zealand.

They die because politicians have failed at their jobs. The current policies around wood burning are what you get when there is a systemic failure of our governance. They are what we get when we have dumb and gutless politicians.

Wiseup thicko politicians. People are dying on your watch.

We could do more monitoring, paid for by putting an annual tax on woodburners. but the monitoring will tell the same story. Woodburners make pollution. It’s all wood burners. It’s all solid fuels. How much evidence do we need to go to a full ban on all sold fuel burning? We should be tracking at background particulate levels, not bumping around at 50 micrograms of PM10s. Of course we need a ban. It’s elemental my Dear Watson.

Horizons Regional Council are too inept to deal with this

3 09 2014

Another day, another day ruined by rural burnoffs.

Once again I have been prevented from working in my own gardens by an ignoramus choosing cheap and nasty instead of responsible in dealing with their garden waste.

Once again the Horizons Regional Council’s policies of do nothing, listen to no complaints, and pretend it isn’t a problem has been shown to be complete failures.

All of the elected members of Horizons should stand down, and not stand for re-election. Any paid staff who have contributed to the current poor situation, through ignorance or incompetence, should be sacked.

The whole setup of regional councils being the implementers of environmental policy should be examined. At the moment they off us very little in the way of protection. Yet we pay our rates. What we get in return for our money is nothing. Nothing other than sheer incompetence.

Let’s all pretend that rural dwellers never burn green things and never burn plastic. Let’s all pretend that even the driest and most wooden of rubbish being burnt doesn’t actually pollute. Let’s all pretend that Horizons doesn’t need to be completely reformed.

It happens way too frequently. Up to 2 or 3 times a week. It is really hard trying to plan around. The days in the garden should be decided by the weather, not by morons who burn. Small rural burnoffs cause much distress.

Of course we never burn green stuff. No, we only ever burn responsibly.

Of course we never burn green stuff. No, we only ever burn responsibly.

No you can trust us not to burn plastic.

No you can trust us not to burn plastic.

Listen to the doctor

28 08 2014

Dr Moench from Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment tells us all an important message:

NSW top doctor recommends bans on woodburning (and the AHHA continues to deceive)

10 07 2014


In New South Wales they are noticing that winter air quality in Sydney is getting worse. There is a fad of increased wood burning and it is having a detrimental effect. NSW’s Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant is recommending bans and phase outs of wood burning. Here is an article about it at the Sydney Morning Herald.

In the article is the hint that Standards Australia is going to do the unforgivable and allow the wood burning industry to dictate clean air policy again, strengthening the absolutely piss weak 4.0g/kg standard on wood smoke emissions to the still piss weak 2.5g/kg. That’s really disappointing because real world emissions would need to be south of 0.001g/kg of soot per kilo of fuel for them to not cause cities and towns not to fail to meet ambient air quality standards.

Then look at this from the article:

“An Australian Home Heating Association spokeswoman questioned the findings that wood fire heaters were the main source of the fine particle pollution in winter.

“Open brick fireplaces, diesel vehicles, road and rail transport, coal-fired power generations, hazard reduction burns and bushfires all contribute to sources of PM2.5 – are these considered when discussing the source of poor air quality,” the spokeswoman said.

“We recognise wood heaters contribute to the overall air quality in built-up areas. (But) the air quality data only measures the fine particulate in the air. It has no way of measuring the source.”

It shows once again what duplicitous lying bastards the Australian Home Heating Association is. They know full well that wood burning is the leading cause of winter wood smoke pollution in Sydney. They are lying through their teeth yet again, holding everyone’s health hostage to their profit motive. Lying fucking bastards who are quite prepared for people to die so they can get another phlegm stained dollar.

Can the AHHA spokeswoman not read graphs? What are woodburners responsible for. It is under the curve you lying cretin.

Of course all wood burning should be banned. We should be listening to NSW’s Chief Medical Officer, not only in Sydney, not only in all of New South Wales, but all around the world.


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