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Yellow pollen not pollution

The spring weather is spreading pollen across Wellington, and it’s being mistaken for pollution.

Reports are being received at the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Pollution Hotline of yellow powder or paint residue coating cars, accumulating in the harbour and streams.

These are all deposits of pollen, mostly from pine and macrocarpa plants.

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 spring winds.

Only a small amount of pollen is retained on plants, with the bulk of the traveling pollen forming a fine yellow dust on cars or laundry, or forming clumps and foamy slime around water.

While the pollen deposits are often mistaken for pollution and reported to the Pollution Hotline, the council appreciates the concern of citizens for the environment. Greater Wellington wants to hear from people when they think there might be a pollution problem, even when that turns out not to be the case.

If people suspect pollution they should call the Regional Council’s confidential 24-hour service hotline on 0800 496 734

Contact details will be requested so that staff can gather more information if needed.