It is another windless night in Kapiti, and there is visible woodsmoke pollution under every street light. There isn’t a puff of wind, save from the little puffs of everyone’s asthma medication.
If this was the Gulf of Mexico off the Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi then there would be a congressional inquiry and there would be calls for heads to roll. Yet if the Maui gas field operators off the coast of South Taranaki mucked up as much as BP and there was oil bearing down on the Kapiti Coast as much as is presently on the US Gulf Coast it wouldn’t affect the residents of Kapiti as much as the woodsmoke tonight. In other words, tonight is an absolute disaster. It is a preventable disaster of calamitous wood smoke levels. My eyes hurt. My puffer has run out of salbutimol. Who can we call to account? Who’s head can be rolled because of this “slow burn disaster”?
Who is responsible?
Of course it is the homeowners who don’t give a damn about air quality, and a turd on all their teeth.
Of course it is the hopeless KCDC and the limp-wristed GWRC with their lack of leadership, and a lack of any policy tools (and their lack of clued-in staff)?
Of course it is the idiots selling the firewood. And the idiots selling the woodburning stoves. And it is the idiots manufacturing the wood burning stoves that are not fit for purpose because they emit toxic poisonous pollution in large amounts, like tonight.
Of course it is the New Zealand Home Heating Association who on a night like tonight look plainly like the stupid political arm of the pollution industry.
But it is also the Ministry of Environment, who clearly doesn’t give a damn about the actual environment where people live and try to breathe.
And wasn’t the Honorable Dr Nick Smith asking us recently if it would be OK to weaken the already weak air quality standards because, well we can’t even comply with lax standards, and hey instead of doing the right thing and actually reducing pollution he asked if he could just weaken the standards further?
Well it costs money to police New Zealand’s murder laws too Nick Smith. Shall we weaken them? Perhaps we could water down our milk with melamin, and save a dollar or two there too. And well amphetamines cost a lot of money to police with all those P-addicts running around. Perhaps we could weaken those laws too? Speeding enforcement. Well think of all the money we could save by not having traffic laws.
So here at the Clean Air Society of the Kapiti Coast I call on the Honorable Doctor Nick Smith, Minister of the Environment to actually improve the situation by giving the toothless regional councils some teeth, and by tightening the standards, and to have a plan to get rid of woodsmoke pollution entirely from our communities. If he can’t improve the situation, and only propose to make chronic pollution more the norm, then the Society calls on him to resign. If he’s not part of the solution, he’s part of the problem.
Why do we have to smell wood smoke at all? And why on a night like this, do we have to breathe so damn much of it?
Tonight in Kapiti – 12th July 2010. Windspeed – nil.
Paekakariki tonight – polluted
Raumati tonight – very, very polluted (along the beach fron, and beside the highway and everywhere in between)
Central Paraparaumu – around the Shell on Kapiti Road – polluted. If it is polluted there in the middle of the donut a long way from people’s houses you know it is a stinky night.
Waikanae town centre – polluted. Again Waikanae doesn’t normally have the worst pollution in the district, but yep it stank.
Te Horo village – visible clouds of muck under the street lights.
Otaki – polluted