The Greater Wellington Regional Council has the role of environmental watchdog, and enforcing the resource management act within the Wellington Region. They have a pollution hotline for reporting pollution, like in streams and in the air.
So it with extreme disappointment that I smelt and saw what I saw this week along the Otaki River. The GWRC Flood Control people had closed down (what kind of is, and should be) the Otaki Southside Cycleway.
I noticed the smoke smell riding my bike along the State Highway and then from the bridge I saw this:
and from the north side of the river here is the volume of smoke:
There were a large number of piles to go up too. It may be a semi-rural district, but there are a number of houses within a few hundred metres of the burn off, including my own (luckily the wind was in a different direction).
So if the GWRC is the watchdog, shouldn’t the different parts of the GWRC go by best practice? I was under the impression that their official line is that burning off shouldn’t cause a nuisance. Well it was a nuisance to at least me as a cyclist that day, probably the motorists on the SH1 and a few local residents.
Surely a wood chipper on a trailer towed behind one of the council’s own trucks could have turned the waste wood into woodchips which could then have been spread amongst the new plantings they’re doing in the river reserve as mulch and weed control. If there would be too many woodchips, sell them or give them away to local landscaping yards, who could then sell them to local gardeners. Or give them to the KCDC for their parks and reserves.
Best practice wouldn’t include using the atmosphere as a dump.