PM10 in Christchurch and the Impact It Has on Health Essay

PM10 in Christchurch and the Impact It Has on Health Essay

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Air pollution, the contamination of air through pollutants and gases (The American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, n.d.) is an issue greatly impacting New Zealand’s citizen’s health and in Christchurch, can account for up to 9.1% of all deaths (Palmer & Mann, 2011). More prevalent in winter, when the mountainous terrain, calm winter weather and the warm air layer allow for the emissions to become trapped in a cold air blanket, locking them in at street level, thus creating a temperature inversion; (University of Waikato, 2009), the recommended exposure to PM10, a pollutant with particles that have a diameter smaller than 10 microns (Ministry for the Environment, 2003) in Christchurch is often surpassed (Palmer and Mann, 2011). Additionally, Palmer and Mann (2011) report that the majority of these particles originate from human activity, such as wood burning stoves, which account for up to 80% of all PM10 particles released (Moller, 2011), hydrocarbon-burning traffic and industrial wastes, which account for the remainder.
Of the deaths in Christchurch related to PM10 particle exposure, an estimated 48% were caused through the particle exposure through wood burning, 31% from traffic and 21% to other sources (Palmer and Mann, 2011).
Those who are most likely to suffer mortality as a consequence of the particulate exposure are infants, those over 65, school aged children and sufferers of respiratory illnesses (Fisher et al. 2005; Christchurch City Health Profile, 2012), and generally those who live in lower socio-economic areas (Christchurch City Health Profile, 2012).
Despite overexposure to these harmful emissions lowering annually, as shown by the Christchurch City Health Profile (2012), in 1998 there were 60 days in the ye...

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Christchurch City Health Profile (2012). Asthma. Christchurch Health and Wellbeing Profile Papers. Retrieved from

Ministry for the Environment (2012) National environment standards for air: airsheds Retrieved 24 April 2014, from

Environment Canterbury Regional Council (2012). Modelling the impact of five scenarios. Christchurch air quality: meeting the NESAQ targets for PM10 Retrieved from

Ministry for the Environment (2007). State of the Environment. Environment New Zealand, 2007 (chapter 7). Retrieved from

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