New Zealand has the world's second highest prevalence of asthma in the world (source Asthma and Respiratory Foundation) with hospital admission rates for asthma doubling in 30 years.
Some locations often fail air quality standards. For instance Mosgiel fails air quality PM10 standards about 8 times a year. See warning on Mosgiel pollution. The pollution is caused mainly by domestic heating appliances although one emission source in the north east of the town contributes about 7% to the total.
Other towns are said to have breached the national standard more frequently- Arrowtown has failed 29 times and Milton 19.
In June Environment Minister Nick Smith admitted that 10 NZ cities and towns were unlikely to meet air quality targets by the year 2013, he said that the overwhelming proportion of pollution is caused by home fires, and to a lesser extent vehicles.
About two third of New Zealanders live in locations where they are exposed to air pollution but it's a significant problem in some some areas. Approximately 1,100 people die prematurely in urban areas from air pollution every year
For the effects of this type of pollution and comments about the problem being compounded by 'scarily cold houses' see NZ's high winter death rate and burning wood to keep warm.
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