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Published: 2006-08-01 00:00:00

Environment Waikato has commissioned a survey to find out what people understand about backyard burning and its impact on air quality.

The region wide telephone survey will be carried out by Versus Research from August 2-8, using randomly generated phone numbers.

The survey looks at issues surrounding how people dispose of their garden and green waste, such as grass clippings, leaves and branches. It will help Environment Waikato make decisions about how to control the effects of these activities.

Backyard burning is one cause of air pollution in the Waikato region. Smoke produced by burning green waste contains tiny particles (PM10) that measure 10 microns across – about a fifth the width of a human hair.

These particles contribute to respiratory problems including asthma and bronchitis, and are linked with premature mortality. They are a particular problem for children, the elderly and people with existing respiratory or cardiovascular disease.

Environment Waikato air quality scientist Jeff Smith encouraged people to take part in the survey.

“It will only take a few minutes of your time and we would really appreciate your feedback,” he said.