Pollen's not pollution - it's Spring doing its thing

  • Published Date 18 Aug 2017

Reports are already coming into Greater Wellington Regional Council of signs of yellow powder or paint residue lining streams and puddles and coating people's cars, all of which are deposits of pollen and signs that hay fever season is about to start.

"People mistakenly think pollen deposits are pollution and report them to our Pollution Hotline.  We don't mind because it shows people care about their environment and have a sharp eye for pollution and we want to hear from people when they think there might be a problem." says the council's Manager Environment Regulation Alistair Cross.

The yellow sludge found on water surfaces or lining shores are also signs that pollen is being spread by wind. Wind pollination is used by many plants in New Zealand including pines and most grasses, both of which routinely trigger hay fever. They produce enormous quantities of light, dry pollen grains that are carried on Wellington's boisterous spring winds.

Only a small amount of this pollen hits the spot on plants. The majority goes to waste and this is what can be seen forming clumps and foamy slime around water or the fine yellow dust you might be seeing on your clean car or laundry.  It can be alarming but it's perfectly normal.

If people suspect polution they should call Greater Wellington Regional Council's Hotline on 0800 496 734. it's a confidential 24-hour service. Contact details will be requested so that staff can gather more information if needed.  

Updated April 28, 2022 at 2:37 PM

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0800 496 734