High levels of air pollution have been shown to increase
mortality, hospital admissions and emergency department visits.
People aged over 65 years, infants and preschool children,
and people with respiratory problems and chronic diseases are
During winter, Christchurch experiences poor air quality due to
geographical and climatic conditions which trap air pollution at
low altitude above the city. An estimated 80% of this
pollution in recent years has come from open fires and older solid
fuel burners, although these are gradually being phased-out-and
many have been replaced with clean heat sources since the September
2010 and February 2011 earthquakes-and air quality has been
One Christchurch study found that more socially deprived
neighbourhoods had significantly higher levels of traffic-related
pollution than high income areas.
full issue summary on air quality [PDF].