Improving air quality in Armidale city just got serious with the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) installing a dedicated air quality sensor with hourly data available online and Council installing a network of Purple Air sensors across the city which also delivers real-time data.
Armidale city has been battling air quality, particularly in the winter months for many years due to our cold winters and the use of wood fired heaters to keep warm. The city’s geographical location in a valley and low winds also poses an issue where wood smoke can get trapped over the city.
Armidale Regional Council mayor Simon Murray said the air quality data received from the sensors so far has revealed some worrying statistics that we need to take seriously.
“I’ve been looking at the data from the OEH sensor which has already revealed so far this winter poor and very poor air quality on a number of occasions,” Cr Murray said.
The Air Quality Index on the OEH monitoring site for Armidale reached 243 (hazardous) at 1am in the morning on Tuesday last week.
It remained at very poor and poor for the rest of the morning. These results were also replicated on the Purple Air Monitoring site.
Air quality in Armidale city that morning was very poor, Cr Murray said.
“The city woke to the smell of wood smoke that had been trapped over the city for the whole night. These are the conditions that can pose serious health risks for the community,” he said.
“The good news is that by properly operating your wood heater you can reduce excessive wood smoke leaving your chimney by up to 90 percent.”
Council is encouraging the community to take advantage of the live monitoring data that is now easily accessible online.
To view the OEH Air Quality Index data updated hourly for Armidale and the rest of the state go to http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/aqms/aqitable.htm or you can view the live data from the Purple Air Sensors Council has installed across the city at www.purpleair.com click on the map and search for Armidale.