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World Earth Day: Air quality and its effects on health

A newly formed partnership between Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ) and NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) aims to provide the latest air quality research to over 700,000 people living with respiratory conditions in New Zealand.

Air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter created by human-made sources – including road transport emissions are known to cause major health issues.

Letitia O’Dwyer, Chief Executive of Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ reports, “Air pollution in the environment can cause and aggravate respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.”

“Our newly formed partnership with NIWA aims to provide our community with information about their local and regional air quality, to assist in making informed decisions about their respiratory health. We also aim to alert Kiwis of areas within the country to avoid due to significantly high levels of air pollutants,” says Letitia.

The partnership will also provide an opportunity for the asthma and respiratory community to participate in future studies, ensuring that air quality research is relevant and representative of participants that will greatly benefit from its research.

Dr Guy Coulson, Air Quality Scientist at NIWA says, “We are looking forward to working with the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ. We anticipate that this partnership will help us to continue to ensure that our air quality research is useful and relevant to the New Zealand public and will also help us to reach some of the people for whom our research findings are most relevant.”

World Earth Day is an annual event and the world’s largest environmental movement.



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