Mount Maunganui is home to New Zealand's busiest port and a large industrial area. There are a number of industrial air discharges in close proximity to the Whareroa Marae and high-density Mt Maunganui town.
Community concerns about health impacts from industrial emissions have increased as industry and the town have expanded and grown closer.
To identify issues and address concerns, Bay of Plenty Regional Council increased the number of air monitoring stations in the industrial area from three to 12 in 2018.
Breaches of PM10 levels caused the area to be gazetted by MfE as a polluted airshed in November 2019.
Initially council had to get industry to recognise their activities were the issue and changing business practice would be the solution. A multi-pronged long term approach across several council teams, industry, community and tangata whenua would be required to bring about the desired improvements in air quality. Greater regulatory controls are being implemented with airshed specific rules enacted. Industrial air discharge consents are being reviewed with cumulative emissions now a consideration in new consents. A new community group, Clear the Air Mt Maunganui has formed, the voices and ears of business, local government, health agencies, tangata whenua and community are now around one table in a recently convened Working Party. An air quality action plan is being developed to identify the locations of every air contaminant source within the industrial area. Importantly a full time industrial compliance officer is based permanently in the industrial area. The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is committed to work with all stakeholders to ensure industrial air discharges do not continue to cause breaches of National Environmental Standards or impact on health.
Wednesday 7th December, 2:30pm
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Senior Regulatory Project Officer, Bay of Plenty Regional Council
Reece completed his studies at AUT, being the eldest to graduate in his year (completing an Environmental Science degree after 17 years working as an international tour-group escort). He started as a summer intern at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council after completing his B.App.Sc, undertaking industrial audits in the regulatory compliance team. Fast forward 10 years, Reece has moved through a number of roles at BoPRC, but remains based in Tauranga working in industrial compliance.