Auckland’s State of the Environment Report 2020: Queen Street air quality on the decline
Released on 24 February 2021, Auckland’s State of the Environment Report 2020 shows the latest state of the regions air, water and land quality every six years since 2009. The 2020 report has shown some minor improvements to the region’s water quality, but also the worsening air quality on Auckland’s Queen Street.
The evidence supports previous data that led to the Council’s discussion of a ‘car ban’ on the city’s main street, and a commitment to zero-emission buses from 2025, and a zero-emissions zone in the city centre by 2030.
While the overall air quality for the region seems to be improving, Queen Street shows rising levels of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter breach targets every single year up to 2019. The pollutants pose many health risks, like breathing issues. The cause of the declining air quality has been pinned down to the traffic and vehicle volumes, and ongoing construction that blocks ventilation.
Chair of the climate and environment Committee, Richard Hills said, keeping the CBD’s population growth in mind, the council is aiming to make all buses on Queen Street electric by mid-2021, and are working on reducing car traffic through the street.
As for water quality, groundwater, stream and coastal water quality seems to be improving slowly. However, the causes of concern are the region’s lakes, estuaries, harbours and some streams. Elevated nutrients, high levels of E. coli, reduced water clarity, and high sedimentation are some of the key findings.
Hills added that “"We always need to be mindful of costs but we owe it to future generations not to make any more species extinct, not to see more forests wiped out, for people to want to visit Tāmaki Makaurau to swim at our beaches, have that environmental access.
The environment and the economy are linked, and it will be far more costly in the future not to do anything now."
The New Zealand Herald
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