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Pollution kills thousands of people every year blasts charity

This news post is almost 8 years old

​Modern pollutants contribute to the deaths of 2,500 Scots every year

Pollution is continuing to kill thousands of Scots – 60 years after laws were introduced to curb the problem an environmental charity has blasted.

Friends of the Earth Scotland says toxic air from the sky-rocketing amount of traffic and other modern pollutants contributes to the deaths of 2,500 Scots every year.

It is calling for the Scottish Government to act now and reverse the problem by committing serious funding to reduce the number of vehicles in use and to help councils to create clean air zones in our major cities.

Campaigners from the charity made the call exactly 60 years after the introduction of the Clean Air Act was launched to introduce controls on industrial pollution and the burning of coal.

Scotland’s toxic air continues to break national and European safety standards

They say the cause of pollution has changed since then and the government is failing to take today’s problems seriously enough.

Currently, air quality is regulated in Scotland by it s own Scottish statutory standards and by European law. The Scottish Government has committed to meeting European Union legal limits on air quality by 2020, but has yet to commit to meeting its own, more stringent standards.

Emilia Hanna the charity’s air pollution campaigner spoke out, revealing that since Scotland has missed its 2010 EU clean air deadline, Friends of the Earth estimates 15,000 people have died early from air pollution.

“Air pollution has changed since the 1950s, but it remains devastating to public health," she said.

“Back then, pea soupers (smog clouds) were caused by coal smoke from heavy industry, but today’s air pollution is an invisible killer, largely coming from the massive volume of traffic which chokes our roads and cities.

“Scotland’s toxic air continues to break national and European safety standards with 32 designated pollution zones across the country where levels are deemed to be unsafe.

Hanna continued: “The Scottish Government has a new plan for clean air with its Cleaner Air for Scotland Strategy, but much more action is needed.

“The pea-souper smogs of the 50s were very visible, but today’s air pollution is formed by gases and particles that are so tiny you cannot see them.

“Sixty years ago, respiratory illness was the main health impact of air pollution. Today, air pollution particles from traffic fumes are much smaller and can cross from the lungs into the bloodstream, and are linked to strokes, heart attacks, endocrine damage and even dementia and diabetes.”