Ministry of Health monitoring air quality following Australian bushfires

News article

06 January 2020

The Ministry of Health is continuing to monitor and review the air quality data in New Zealand to assess the impact of the Australian bushfire smoke. 

This data currently shows that the increases in particulate matter tend to be held in the upper atmosphere and are much more diluted at ground level. Data from air quality monitoring stations does not show the daily limits for particulates in air are being exceeded. This means the smoke that is being seen is not expected to impact on the air we breathe and any intermittent, short-term increases in smoke are unlikely to cause any significant health issues. 

However, it is possible that some people may still experience ill effects even though the pollution levels remain relatively low. 

People who are more at risk include those who suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions, older people or those with chronic illnesses. If you have asthma or another respiratory disease, and your symptoms worsen and/or don't improve with your normal treatment plan, you should seek medical advice. 

If you are concerned, contact your health professional or free call Healthline for health advice – 0800 611 116.

More information on the air quality in your area is available at Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA).

NASA modelling, based on information from weather satellites, is useful to provide a useful prediction of the impact of the Australian bushfires on New Zealand, but we note that like all forecasts their accuracy at ground level can be variable.

Map showing forecast for particulate matter in Australia and NZ.
This map shows the modelling for 8 January 2020.
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