Biological hazards pose a threat to the health of living organisms: people, plants and animals. They include pandemics and biosecurity threats.
If biological hazards are not controlled, avoided or managed, they could significantly affect human health or affect New Zealand’s economy. Industry sectors (such as agriculture and fisheries) can be adversely affected, as well as human and animal health and infrastructure.
As Auckland has a large international airport and ports, it is at risk of animal and plant pests or diseases being bought into the country. Unwanted pests and diseases could severely impact New Zealand's horticulture, agriculture and forestry industries and delicate ecosystems. Auckland is not only at risk from biosecurity threats, but must also but must be vigilant to halt the spread of any threat that does make it past our strict biosecurity precautions at the ports and airport.
The actual consequences and response required to a biological threat affecting Auckland will depend on the nature of the organism.
Technological hazards include lifeline utility disruption, major transport accidents, hazardous substances, dam failure, cyber-threats, terrorism and civil unrest.
Auckland has been affected by technological threats in the past.
Many kinds of hazardous substances are transported, stored and used in Auckland and many industrial areas are located near residential and environmentally sensitive areas.
A hazardous substance is anything that may be:
Hazardous substance spills or accidents can affect a large area through explosions, chemical reactions or toxic gas plumes. These could cause health impacts, harm animals, habitats or ecosystems and contaminate land and water resources.
The International Panel on Climate Change has provided climate projections for New Zealand for 2040 and 2090.
Their Auckland projections include:
Impacts could include:
The extensive urbanisation of Auckland, a region with 3100 km of coastline, has resulted in exposure to hazardous coastal erosion and accretion processes and both 'soft' and 'hard' shoreline and cliff erosion.
'Soft shorelines' refer to sandy beaches and dunes made up of unconsolidated or very weakly consolidated materials. Sandy beaches in the Auckland region experience periods of accretion (net sediment accumulation) and erosion (net sediment decrease). On beaches experiencing a sustained period of erosion, sediment loss results from waves, currents and wind removing sediment from the beach faster than it is replaced.
Erosion and instability also happens from natural and human factors such as cliff height and modification. Geology is the main contributing factor that affects the extent of coastal erosion in Auckland.
Land instability and coastal erosion impacts:
Land shape (geomorphology) and composition (geology) are the main factors that contribute to land instability. In Auckland, landslides and soil erosion occur in soft, weak soils that have been weathered over many thousands of years. Land instability may move rapidly or slowly and gradually.
Common examples of land instability in Auckland include:
Auckland is vulnerable to drought, which can have severe implications for people, agriculture and the economy. Unlike most natural hazards, the onset of drought can be slow and go unrecognised. It usually occurs from a lack of precipitation, commonly rain, over a long period. There are two types drought:
What do I need to do to be ready?
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Use water efficiently and adhere to water restrictions.