Our air 2021 final release: updated environmental data release published


The Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ have published the report Our air 2021: final release report.

Our air 2021 final release report incorporates analysis of the World Health Organization (WHO) 2021 air quality guidelines that were released on 23 September 2021.

This report supersedes the Our air 2021: preliminary release report.

The report compares concentrations of each pollutant indicator against New Zealand’s National Environmental Standard for Air Quality (NESAQ), the 2005 WHO air quality guidelines, and the 2021 WHO air quality guidelines.

Based on improved scientific understanding, the 2021 WHO air quality guidelines are more stringent for most critical air pollutants and reflect the overwhelming evidence of the impacts to human health, even at low levels. They set a much lower threshold for air pollutants than the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality, which themselves are based on the 2005 WHO air quality guidelines.

The Our air 2021 final release report includes:

The revised report is more concise compared with recent reports, and reflects a more responsive and agile approach, where data is updated as it becomes available, as recommended by the 2019 Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environments review of the Environmental Reporting system.

The 2021 WHO air quality guidelines are not the current regulatory standards for air quality in Aotearoa New Zealand; this remains the NESAQ. However, officials will be considering what these new guidelines indicate in terms of our current regulatory settings.