Posted by: Matthew | July 5, 2010

Are newspapers conflicted?

Mainstream newspapers hardly ever carry stories about woodsmoke pollution, even though it dominates my life and the lives of many others. They might put a few letters to the editors up at the start of winter, but really it is an issue they largely ignore. Newspapers often carry print ads for firewood, and all sorts of pollution devices, aka chimineas and woodheaters and pellet heaters. Responsible home heating manufacturers like heatpump manufacturers will hire a cricket captain and buy commercial slots on TV, but the unethical manufacturers and retailers pretty much go for print ads. Is a lack of stories about woodsmoke pollution in general newspapers, both metropolitan and the local rags, down to the threats of losing advertising revenue or to a lack of interest or understanding from the editors?

I don’t know the answer.

So that makes the Kapiti Observer’s story from July 1, 2010, almost unique, entitled “Raumati South focus of tests for toxic smoke”. It was on page 1 even.

It wasn’t really news, in that it was common knowledge that the Greater Wellington Regional Council is starting to monitor the Kapiti airshed this year. It’s not a lot, and it is years behind other parts of Greater Wellington, and there are no promises of what’s to be done once Raumati South is shown to exceed the already lax standards. (I have no doubt that Raumati South stinks. I had to move away from a house on Rosetta Road, because of the horrible pollution. If by some miracle (or mistake) it does comply with the standards it’ll show just how bloody lax the standards really are.)

So keep it up Kapiti Observer. Please help the Kapiti community get some clean, fresh air. Join the fight for clean air justice.

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