31426 Lloyd Homer GNS Science

Contaminants impact human health, livelihoods, ecosystems and the environment. We use our expertise in monitoring, modelling and chemical analysis to better understand the contaminants present in our environment.

There are several contaminants that impact the quality and health of our air, soil, freshwater and ocean.

  • Freshwater

    Researchers routinely monitor our freshwater sources, like our groundwater, for contaminants. Our research has found that 42% of our groundwater monitoring sites have nitrate concentration above natural levels due to human or agricultural influences. This information can be used by councils and local government to protect groundwater from further contamination.

  • Ocean

    The key ocean contaminant we are concerned about is plastic waste, including the growing amount microplastics (very small plastic fragments). Our goal is to better understand its movements through the ocean and the resulting impacts on marine life.

  • Air

    Air pollution ranges from chemicals released in emissions to larger particulates released in wood smoke. We measure the chemical composition of air particulate matter so that local authorities, businesses and other organisations have the information they need to comply with national environmental standards for air quality.

  • Soil

    Healthy soils are a foundation of a healthy environment and a foundation of human health through the ability to grow food. Soil contamination can result from anthropogenic pollution, agriculture and mineral exploration. We collaborate with partners in government and universities to better understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s soil and other active chemical environments.


At GNS Science, we are dedicated to finding ways to collect, analyse measure, monitor and prevent contamination of our environment. Our research underpins activities being undertaken at a local and national scale to clean up contaminated resources and to protect resources from further contamination. We work closely with universities, local governments, Crown Research Institutes and communities to provide advice and information to help accomplish joint goals.

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