Air Pollution in New Zealand Essay

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In Auckland, private cars are hugely important to individuals as a means of transport around the city. However the use of personal vehicles has a negative impact on the environment in the form of air pollution (Auckland Regional Council, 2014). Air pollution can be measured by the level of particulate matter found in the air. Particulate matter is made up of very fine particles in the air which may be visible but are not always seen (Ministry of Transport, 2002). Air pollution due to transport causes an increase in the amount of fine particulate matter specifically PM₁₀. However there are also other molecules such as nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) and carbon monoxide (CO) that also prove toxic to humans in certain concentrations
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There are groups of the population that are particularly susceptible to air pollution and these include: the elderly, young children, infants, asthmatics and people with existing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. This is because their immune systems are already lowered or not optimal so substances such as PM₁₀, CO and NO₂ have more of an effect (Public Health Advisory Committee, 2002).
Particulates have been found to exacerbate already present respiratory and cardiovascular problems, cause restricted activity days and also cause premature morbidity (Public Health Advisory Committee, 2002). In city populations such as Auckland, fine particulates such as PM₁₀ are correlated with both NO₂ and CO levels (Health Research Council, 2012).
Motor vehicles are the main source of nitrogen oxides such as NO₂ in urban areas (Ministry of Transport, 2002). NO₂ tends to be associated with PM₁₀. The levels of NO₂ found in the air have shown to cause respiratory diseases. NO₂ causes inflammation on surfaces of the lungs and impairs the lungs immune system defence (Public Health Advisory Committee, 2002), thus exacerbating already present respiratory diseases, and making people more susceptible to bronchitis and asthma (Ministry of Transport, 2002). There was found to be a positive correlation between high NO₂ levels and mortality in the

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