Did you know Waikato Regional Council monitors air quality around the region including in Thames? The good news is that under current standards Thames has “good” air quality (0– 33% of the guideline) for around 86% of the time and in recent measurements has never exceeded the National Environmental Standard of 50 micrograms per cubic metre of air (µg/m3)
The closest Thames got to exceeding the national standard was in December 2019 when a measurement of 44 µg/m3 was recorded and this was due to the Australian bush fires!
Air Quality is monitored in Thames at Thames High School in the vicinity of Richmond Street. This monitoring station was established in April 2016. PM10 (fine particles 10 microns in diameter or smaller) is monitored using a Thermo-Scientific Beta Attenuation Monitor model 5014i.
The table below provides a summary of the PM10 data including the maximum 24 hour average concentration which is compared against the National Environmental Standard of 50 micrograms per cubic metre of air (µg/m3), the annual average which is compared against the national ambient air quality guideline of 20 micrograms per cubic metre of air (µg/m3) and the Ministry for the Environment’s air quality indicator categories.
The data for 2018 is considered questionable as the air conditioning unit for the monitoring station was not working properly and is believed to have affected the accuracy of the monitoring data.
The current standard is for particles in air that are 10 microns in diameter or smaller ( PM10) . But amendments will soon be made by central government to the standard which shift the focus to monitoring and management of particles in air that 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller (PM2.5). The proposed changes are based on improved scientific understanding and evidence about the health impacts of particulate matter and to better target controllable sources of air pollution.
It will be interesting to find out once the new monitoring has been done under the new standard whether Thames still has safe air quality – particularly in the winter when wood fires are burning
see this NZ Herald article for more