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.

Small rural burn offs cause much distress

23 06 2014

I have a day of annual leave today and I dressed to go work in the garden. I leave the house and there is a strong, unpleasant smell of smoke.

This is the reason:

It's enough to ruin my day

It’s enough to ruin my day

Yep, this guy burning a small amount of rubbish over a mile from my house was enough reason for me not to be able to work in my own gardens.

It’s a cold, breezeless morning and lets see what one little fire can do to a whole valley. That’s 3 or 4 square kilometres polluted with probably 50 or 60 people living in the area.


Well you’d think I could ring the Horizons Regional Council pollution hotline and they’d just go and ask him not to. Ideally they’d order him to extinguish the fire and tell him that he is causing annoyance and pollution and to not do it again. Yet they’ve failed to make policy that prevents it and they haven’t educated the guy that he will cause annoyance. He causes annoyance, and the rules pretend that it doesn’t happen and then if it does, you can ring the hotline and they say they’ll do something about it. But they never do anything about it. The people who work at the Horizon’s Regional Council are incompetent. The system is broken. The system needs to be fixed.

Who’d choose to live or invest in this area if this can happen to you? And it is happening to me almost as often as once a week.


Living in areas polluted with fine particles raises lung cancer risk

18 06 2014

The following article was originally published by Environmental Health News

By Brian Bienkowski Staff Writer Environmental Health News

June 12, 2014 Nonsmoking women who live many years in communities polluted with fine particles have an elevated risk of lung cancer, according to new research.

The study, which is the largest to date to examine the link, adds to mounting evidence that chronic exposure to soot may raise the risk of lung cancer, particularly among nonsmokers.

“The results are dramatic in the sense that there appears to be a substantial effect of being close to air pollution in terms of risk for cancer,” said Dr. Norman Edelman, a senior medical advisor with the American Lung Association who was not involved in the study.

Led by Harvard University researchers, the study estimated exposures of 103,650 U.S. women to three sizes of airborne particulates. They calculated how many women contracted cancer – 2,155 – between 1994 and 2010, and analyzed the pollution levels near their homes for the previous six years.

All sizes of particle pollution, particularly the smallest, or PM2.5, were linked to an increased risk of lung cancer. For every small (10-microgram per cubic meter) increase in PM2.5 the risk of lung cancer increased 37 percent among nonsmoking women or women who had quit smoking at least 10 years earlier, according to the study, which was published online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.


“Once you restrict to nonsmokers – people not getting bombarded with cigarette smoke – these associations do get much stronger,” said senior author Francine Laden, a Harvard professor of environmental epidemiology.

The sources of the pollutants varied. Although the research suggested that traffic played a role in the higher cancer risk, the finding was not scientifically significant because too few women in the study lived near major roads.

Spewed by trucks, buses, cars, factories and fires, fine particles can penetrate deep into lungs, raising people’s risks of respiratory problems and heart attacks.

More than 46 million Americans, or almost 15 percent, live in areas with unhealthful year-round levels of fine particle pollution, according to the American Lung Association. U.S. areas with the highest levels include the Los Angeles region, California’s Central Valley, Chicago and Houston.

In the new study, about half of the women lived in the Northeast.

The research doesn’t prove air pollution causes lung cancer. But it is the latest of multiple human health studies that have linked fine particles to lung cancer. Such studies prompted the International Agency for Research on Cancer to classify particulate matter as carcinogenic to humans last year.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, killing about 160,000 Americans every year. Almost 90 percent of lung cancers are attributed to cigarette smoking, but an estimated 16,000 to 24,000 nonsmokers die of lung cancer every year in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society.

The researchers didn’t have personal exposure for the women. Instead, they estimated their exposures by plugging local air quality data into models that took into account how close the women lived to major roads, as well as nearby industries and weather conditions.

Edelman of the American Lung Association said the study’s strength was that it looked at a period of six years of exposure instead of a snapshot in time.

However, one researcher said the study didn’t look far enough back in the women’s past. Previous exposures may be more important because cancer can develop over a period of decades.

The study uses “more or less current exposure to categorize long-term response,” said Fred Lipfert, an environmental engineer formerly of the Brookhaven National Laboratory who has published multiple articles on air pollution and health.

“The other problem I have? The words ‘indoor air’ don’t appear anywhere,” Lipfert said.

Indoor sources of particulates include cigarette smoke, cooking, wood-burners and kerosene heaters. The researchers don’t know how often the women’s windows were closed or how much time they spent outdoors, Laden said.

Laden agreed that past exposures are important, but the scientists were limited by the data. Particulates were not routinely measured a decade or two ago. “Ideally we would have exposure data for 20 years back,” she said.

Nevertheless, it’s “pretty certain that air pollution, specifically particulates, is a very important hazard,” Laden said. “We’re not sure that there’s any safe level.”


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