Air pollution in Scotland continues to be a silent killer, analysis by Friends of the Earth Scotland concludes.  The environment group’s analysis of official data of three key pollutants shows high levels of air pollution in some of Scotland’s busiest commuter streets – including Dumbarton Road – despite targets which were supposed to have been met in 2005 and 2010.British Traffic Jam

Dumbarton Road was one of 14 streets to fail nitrogen dioxide (NO2) standards in 2013 with an annual mean level of 46 against a target of 40. It was also one of 17 streets to fail standards for particulate matter: small particles (PM10) with an annual mean of 20 against a target of 18. (Figures are in microgrammes per cubic metre). The Dumbarton Road air quality monitoring station is located at the bottom of Thornwood Park just east of the Balshagray roundabout.

The results come out in light of fresh evidence that long term exposure to air pollution increases the risk of having a heart attack.

Silent Killer

Emilia Hanna, Air Pollution Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said,

“Air pollution has remained the biggest environmental threat to people in Scotland in 2013. Fumes from cars, lorries, buses and factories are killing off more people than car crashes. Air pollution is like passive smoking, we do not choose to breathe in this poisonous air, it is inflicted upon us.

FoES_NO2top20_2013“This year, as Scotland hosts the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and people talk of the legacy of the games for youngsters here and across the participating nations, potential athletes of the future need clean air, not an increased risk of developing conditions such as asthma.”  

“Some of these targets were set in the nineties and supposed to be met in 2005, yet we still have air pollution at dangerous levels on streets across Scotland.  Both the Scottish Government and our local authorities are only just beginning to take this seriously and between them they need to act urgently to make Scotland’s air fit to breathe. We need action on traffic levels and the types of vehicles allowed on our most polluted streets.”

“We need more investment in walking and cycling so that it is easier for people to leave their cars at home, we need cleaner and more affordable public transport, and we need to discourage the most polluting vehicles, including through the use of Low Emission Zones.”

Air Pollution Campaign

Friends of the Earth Scotland are running a campaign to highlight the dangers of air pollution – an unseen silent killer – which claims the lives of 2000 people a foe_logoyear in Scotland. Throughtout the year FoES will be campaigning for better air quality in Scotland by:

  • Demanding a Scottish Air Quality Action Plan, which will commit the Government to taking air pollution seriously;
  • Raising public awareness about Air Pollution issues through the media, and through high-profile stunts;
  • Empowering people to take action by doing their own air quality monitoring;
  • Putting pressure on Councils to change transport priorities.

Evening Times exclusive report

Friends of the Earth Scotland arranged an exclusive report by Matty Sutton from the Evening Times to show air pollutant trends across the city. A keen cyclist, Matty wore a monitoring pack on her back as she completed a typical journey she might face on her way to and from work. The results were startling and showed an obvious high level of particulate matter on streets packed with motor vehicles, especially when these vehicles were idling in traffic. The results are published online as a news feature with the Glasgow paper.

You can read the full press release and more details about the how the data was gathered and analysed by Friends of the Earth Scotland from the Scottish Air Quality Monitoring Website.