Air Quality Levels – Australia and New Zealand



DEC – Department of Environment and Conservation 

Air quality continues to be a key environmental concern for the community. Research has clearly shown that air pollution, depending on its nature and concentration, can adversely affect human health and the environment.

Pollutants are emitted to the air from various sources. These include the combustion of wood and fossil fuels (e.g. coal, petrol and diesel), emissions of hydrocarbons from oil and gas refining, odours from industrial processes or intensive agriculture, and dust associated with mining and land clearing. When these emissions are discharged unmitigated, during periods of poor dispersion, or under conditions conducive to smog formation, episodes of poor air quality may result.

Perth, like most urban areas of Australia, experiences occasional episodes of poor air quality. The main issues are photochemical smog in summer and particle haze during winter. Major sources of pollution are motor vehicles, domestic sources (principally wood heaters) and industry.

Regional areas of WA may also experience poor air quality at times. Pollution can be caused by bushfires and windblown dust, industrial facilities and hazard reduction burns.

EPA – The environment Protection Authority

EPA Victoria

Environment Protection Authority Victoria’s role is to be an effective environmental regulator and an influential authority on environmental impacts.

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland Government

View the current air quality in Queensland with hourly updates from the statewide monitoring network.

NSW – Sydney AQI forecast

New Zealand

MFE – Ministry for the Environment New Zealand

New Zealand has relatively good air quality due to our low population density, close proximity to the sea, and remoteness from other continents and sources of pollution. However, there are some areas, mostly within our cities and towns, where air pollution is quite high.  Air pollution usually occurs when there is not much wind, and where there is high traffic, or where homes are heated by mainly open fires or wood burners.

As our population, standard of living, and size of urban areas increase, air pollution may get worse. And the quality of the air we breathe, which we often take for granted, may be threatened. Unlike the food we eat or water we drink, we do not get to choose the air that we breathe.  So we must look after our air carefully and protect one of New Zealand’s most precious resources.

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