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Natural pollen 'pollution' causes concern

News release
9 August 2005

Natural pollen 'pollution' causes concern

Pollen 'pollution' is a natural occurrence at this time of the year across the Wellington Region, especially pollen from pines. The fine yellow powder is released from the flowers of plants and trees, and can accumulate in large enough quantities to discolour waterways and other damp or wet surfaces.

"Pollen release is a natural phenomenon and not a threat to the environment, although hay fever sufferers may disagree. The resulting yellow mess is often misinterpreted as a chemical spill or industrial pollution, with a number of complaints received each year" says Greater Wellington's Pollution Control Co-ordinator Howard Markland.

Other natural pollution complaints include smelly seaweed along beaches, discoloured streams below wetlands or slips, foam in streams near waterfalls, and floating scum on the harbour due to jellyfish.

Although the pollen is harmless and not a threat to the environment, Greater Wellington is happy to receive all reports of suspected pollution, just in case. "We'd rather be notified of any suspected pollution than see it ignored, as it could be something more serious." says Mr Markland.

Greater Wellington operates a 24-hour Pollution Hotline (freephone 0800 496 734).

ENDS

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