Local News

Most polluted town in New Zealand named

Bad news for locals in this part of the country – as it’s revealed it has the worst level of pollution in the whole of Oceania.


The most polluted place in Oceania has been named – and it’s bad news for those living in Timaru.

According to figures released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the small Kiwi township has the worst air pollution of anywhere on the continent.

After measuring levels of PM10 and PM2.5 particles, the WHO found that Timaru had an annual average of 28 micrograms per cubic metre of the former, and 15 micrograms per cubic metre of the latter.

Levels of between 10 and 20 micrograms are considered safe by the WHO.

The situation in Timaru was due to a combination of high emissions and South Canterbury’s weather and landscape, which means during calm winter nights, when many people use their log burners, pollution could be trapped in a layer of cold air near the surface.

Elsewhere in New Zealand, Christchurch was the worst of major Kiwi cities, while air in Wellington and Auckland was found to be cleaner.

But despite the pollution levels recorded by the World Health Organisation, a review by Dr Jan Wright – Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment – found that air quality in the country was generally good.

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