Arrowtown cleans up its act

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It once had the dubious claim to the worst air quality in Otago, but Arrowtown appears to have cleaned up its act.

The town registered 23 air quality breaches as of July 13, eight fewer than the 31 recorded by the same time the previous year.

The highest level of particulate matter smaller than 10 micrometres – or PM10 – recorded so far this year is 102. Last year it was 158.

In 2013 Arrowtown recorded the most breaches in Otago, with 47 in total.

Regional council environmental scientist Deborah Mills says the improvement is due to different weather patterns.

“In Arrowtown, most years there are numerous times when there are several consecutive days of frosty mornings, clear skies, calm winds, and very cold overnight temperatures. These conditions almost always lead to high PM10 days.

“This winter, the weather pattern has been different and there haven’t been as many of those conditions all happening together. So it might be calm, but cloudy. Or clear, but not so cold. The result has been fewer exceedances.”