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Images: UV Sensor A World Leader

Media Release
22 December 2003


UV Sensor A World Leader

Caption 1: From left: Cancer Society SunSmart spokesperson Wendy Billingsley with Wellington City Council Outdoor Pool Manager Jonathan Delich and Daryl Neal from Tasmanstudios Ltd which designed the Wellington sensor.

An ultraviolet radiation sensor installed this weekend at the Thorndon Pool is the first of its kind in Wellington, the second in the world and the largest in the country.

The prototype was unveiled recently in Alexandra.

The Thorndon Pool sensor has been installed by the Cancer Society with the support of the Wellington City Council. Cancer Society SunSmart spokesperson Wendy Billingsley says the society hopes other councils around New Zealand will follow the WCC’s lead.

New Zealand has followed the recommendations of the World Health Organization in moving away from “burn time” to using the ultraviolet index (UVI) to warn people when they are at risk of sun burn which can lead to skin cancer.

“This sensor is state of the art technology and was designed by NIWA under the direction of scientist Dr Richard McKenzie,” Ms Billingsley says. “It has a real-time UV display and a metre on which an arrow points to the risk level.

Caption 2: Kahurangi and Amira – two children attending the Thorndon Holiday Programme were among the first to investigate the new UV Sensor. Wellington City Council Outdoor Pool Manager Jonathan Delich explains how it works.

“It is solar powered and measures UV radiation levels from one to 11-plus which is displayed on the sensor in five coloured bands. The sensor also describes the appropriate behaviour people should take at each level. For example, in the purple band – levels of 11 and higher, people are advised to reschedule outdoor activities to the early morning and evening.”

Jonathan Delich, manager of summer pools for the Wellington City Council says the council recognises its responsibility to provide shade and protect people using outdoor pools.

“Feedback from people using the pool indicated a demand for shade.

“We commissioned a shade audit as part of a two phase upgrade of the Thorndon Pool. In the first phase we are upgrading the terraces and this winter we will install shade canopies. We see the UV sensor as part of our role in educating people how to stay safe in the sun,” Mr Delich says.

Ms Billingsley says nearly 300 people a year die from skin cancer and more than 50,000 cases are diagnosed in New Zealand each year. The cost to the health system is estimated to be more than $33 million annually.

“If other councils around New Zealand followed the Wellington City Council’s lead and installed UV sensors at outdoor pools and other places where people are outdoors for extended periods, people would be more aware of when they need to protect themselves.”


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