The air pollution in Scotland’s towns and cities is creating a public health crisis, according to environmental campaigners. Scotland’s streets continue to break European air quality standards as the country wrestles with an invisible “public health crisis” costing thousands of lives and billions of pounds.
This claim by Friends of the Earth Scotland came after they analysed official data for two toxic pollutants. The group said the latest figures showed pollution levels were continuing to break Scottish and European limits.
However, ministers defended their record, saying they were working hard, along with councils, to improve air quality. Friends of the Earth Scotland examined two key pollutants, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter – tiny particles which are pumped into the air by diesel vehicles.
Particulate matter is tiny ‘coarse’ particles released by diesel-fuelled vehicles that, like NO2, causes respiratory problems and exacerbates other health conditions. Experts estimate that Scottish air pollution kills 2,000 people a year — more than alcohol-related to road-accident deaths put together.
The environmental group said air pollution had worsened in several areas, including Whitehall Street in Dundee; it found that air pollution had worsened in several areas over the last year. High levels of NO2 are linked to asthma and other respiratory problems. Continue reading