23.1.1 Local industrial development and long distance transport of pollutants have the potential to negatively affect air quality. Additionally, the foreseeable increase in population and urban growth will inevitable intensify air pollution emissions if not managed properly. Air pollution can affect our health and wellbeing, as well as the health of the environment. It is important to Waikato-Tainui that emissions to air are adequately regulated to maintain and improve good air quality. Air is a taonga and is valued for its life supporting capacity. Like water, air was sacred to Waikato-Tainui tuupuna with its quality affecting our environment, health, cultural lifestyle, and standard of living.
23.1.2 Holistically, air should be seen as having its own mauri, or life force. Its continued maintenance and protection contributes to improved regional, national, and global air quality. Today, the main activities contributing to poor air quality arises from human activity, and includes particulate matter from home heating, dust, vehicle emissions, aerial discharge and spraying, and odour contamination. Significant emissions can also affect air cleanliness and clarity.
Discharge quality and amenity
23.2.1 Discharges to air from development and land-use activities may impact adversely on the health and wellbeing of people, the environment, hauanga kai, and cultural and/or activities. Discharges to air can cause dust nuisance, reduce visibility, cause odour problems, and potentially impact on human health. Impact on human health can be specific to an individual and linked to their overall holistic health profile. Discharges include, but is not limited to, industrial discharge, domestic discharge (such as that from home fires), the spraying of farm effluent, dust and noise, coal dust emitted during transport (this applies to other material that can emit particles or dust during transport), fertiliser application (top dressing), vehicle emissions, and volatile organic compounds that can present through vehicle emissions in urban areas.
23.2.2 Fine particles from smoke from fires, industrial processes, and vehicle emissions are the most significant activities impacting on air quality in the Waikato region, and are particularly a problem in winter. Poor air quality that can affect human health can occur inside homes due to inadequate heating and/or ventilation, and the use of some heating appliances. Human and animal health can be affected by poor air quality from individual and cumulative discharges. National standards have been set for air quality (including fine particles) to avoid health effects. Increased population and urban development contributes to increased emissions.
23.2.3 Air pollution can cause a reduction in visibility and impede views of maunga, landmarks, the sea, the awa, etc.
23.2.4 Noise pollution from traffic, trains, planes and industry disrupt proceedings on marae (e.g. poowhiri) and cultural and/or spiritual practices (e.g. karakia). Many Waikato-Tainui marae are situated along or near major arterial routes.
23.2.5 Light pollution from developments impact on celestial darkness and the ability to learn and give effect to Maatauranga Maaori around cosmology and astronomy.
Objective – discharge quality and amenity
23.3.1 The quality and amenity of discharge to air is such that the life supporting capacity and quality of air within the rohe is retained at a level that does not compromise human health, amenity values, or property.
Policy – discharge quality
22.214.171.124 To ensure that the quality of any discharge to air is retained at a level such that it does not compromise human health, amenity values, or property.
(a) At minimum discharges to air meet the national ambient air quality standards or similar.
(b) Discharges to air shall manage any adverse effect beyond the property boundary that is objectionable or offensive as a result of odour, dust, smoke, water vapour, agrichemical, gas, or other airborne contaminants.
(c) Encourage practices that reduce fine particle emissions (e.g. reducing back yard burning by encouraging recycling and composting, efficient home insulation and clean heating programmes, encouraging the burning of dry wood in solid fuel heaters, and the correct operation of solid fuel heaters).
(d) Encourage industry to implement industry best practice or best practicable option for improving air quality.
(e) Promote public transport to reduce vehicle emissions.
(f) Not permit discharges that will have adverse effects on areas identified by Waikato-Tainui as sensitive to air pollution.
(g) Promote the integration of land use and transport to reduce vehicle emissions.
(h) Manage the effects on amenity values of an area due to contaminants, dust, odour, light, or noise. Particular areas of amenity value include, but are not limited to:
i. The Waikato River between Hamilton and Ngaaruawaahia;
ii. The Waikato River and its tributaries, banks, and immediate environs;
iii. Marae and papakaainga;
iv. Sight lines to important features in the landscape, water bodies, waahi tapu and other sites of significance; and
v. The coastline.