New tubes monitor Timaru’s air quality

Did you know the small glass tubes you may have spotted on poles around Timaru measure nitrogen dioxide (NO2)  concentrations in the air? Nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant created by the burning of fossil fuels, is mainly produced by motor vehicles but also comes from home heating and industrial sources.

Pilot Study for Timaru

NO2 diffusion tubes

One of the NO2 diffusion tubes installed on a light pole in Timaru.

We are running a three-month pilot study to better understand how Timaru’s nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations vary in three different situations:

  • residential,
  • peak traffic,
  • and high congestion areas. 

We have installed 18 NO2 diffusion tubes, which collect NOvia a process called passive adsorption, on eight electricity, light, and internet poles around Timaru. 

At the end of each month, the tubes will be sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Why measure Nitrogen dioxide?

Recent scientific research shows that NO2 can impact human health at lower concentrations than previously thought. 

As a result, the World Health Organisation substantially lowered NO2 concentration limits in their 2021 Global Air Quality Guidelines.

For more information about our air quality work, visit our air quality hub.