Posted by: Matthew | March 26, 2010

Raumati South is polluted.

Kimbra Taylor of the Kapiti Clean Air Campaign (not to be confused with the Clean Air Society of Kapiti Coast) is wrong. (in the article ‘A smokefree stance’ in the Kapiti Observer, March 25, 2010.) She is wrong for believing what she has been told by the woodsmoke pollution industry. She says her group is launching an education programme about how to have a more efficient fire. She says to burn small dry pieces of wood and allow the woodburner to run hot for 30 minutes after loading. That’s really bad advice. She is telling people that it is OK to use their wood burners, when it definitely isn’t. Have a look at the photo accompanying the article. See how the smoke is caught in an inversion layer between the sandhills? You can’t burn anything into that. There is nowhere for the smoke to go. It is simple in Raumati, Beach and South, there should be a 100% ban on burning wood.

Well done for Kimbra, and her group, I guess, for getting the Wellington Regional Council to actually get around to monitoring the pollution this winter. Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Tamsin Mitchell is going to measure heaps of filth. And the article says “if readings exceed national standards, further studies will be done.”

I can save the GWRC time and money. I lived in Raumati South for 6 months by the beach thinking it would keep me safe from wood smoke. It didn’t work. It was shocking. It does exceed national standards on air quality, and those standards are already pretty lax. Some of those still nights were absolutely foul.

So when those studies come back, and it shows massive pollution, don’t do further studies. Instead take action, and not a mealy-mouthed education campaign that will achieve very little, but a real, good for society, ban.

If Kimbra can get 1 in 5 people to listen to her, and they reduce their pollution by 20% (which is wildly optimistic) then there will still be 96% of the pollution in Raumati South, and that is going to be completely ineffective. Only a 100% ban is going to be effective in cleaning up the air in Raumati. Similar reduction campaigns in Armidale, NSW and Launceston, Tasmania have proved to be ineffective, where in both cases a full ban was (and still is) needed.

Remember when someone claims that operating a standards compliant wood burner efficiently doesn’t cause pollution,  it is a load of BS and they are incredibly naive, or they are lying through their teeth. Even if they could be operated efficiently by the average thick as two bricks punter (and the average punter is as thick as two bricks), and they could be trusted not to burn plastic, and the air holes in the installed wood burner are still as they were when that model was tested, then it still makes wood smoke in large enough amounts that people, such as myself, have had to move home to get away from them. Even “clean” woodburners should be banned, because they are not clean at all.

Raumati South is polluted. Raumati South will continue to be polluted. The monitoring is welcome, as it will prove my case. Then there will be a protracted period when people will try it Kimbra Taylor’s way, which is exactly what the firewood industry, and the manufacturers of woodstoves will support, and it will be an utter failure, and eventually my way, a 100% ban, will come in, and everyone will say “we should have done it sooner”. And yes we bloody should.

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