Glasgow most polluted city in the UK as Friends of the Earth Scotland warn on health risks of faulty monitoring equipment

GLASGOW was the most polluted city in the UK over the weekend.

Hope Street recorded “very high” levels of pollution on Saturday and Sunday.

And after it emerged that monitoring equipment was malfunctioning, Friends of the Earth Scotland warned that public health is especially at risk when pollution levels can not be accurately recorded.

Hope Street has been repeatedly named by the environmental group as the most polluted site in Scotland.

So far this year, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and deadly PM10 and PM2.5 articles have been detected at levels above legal limits and Scottish standards.

The average readings for NO2, PM10 and PM2.5 have been 67.22, 22 and 19 micrograms/cubic metre respectively. The European legal limit for NO2 is 40 micrograms/cubic metre, while the Scottish standard for PM10 and PM2.5 is 18 and 12 micrograms/cubic metre respectively.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Emilia Hanna called on the council to fix the equipment as soon as possible.

She said: “Air pollution levels in Hope Street have so far in 2014 been higher than Scottish standards which are designed to keep us safe.

“People in Glasgow cannot afford to wait any longer for action on this silent killer.

“It looks like the monitoring station at Hope Street is broken because the readings were all over the place this weekend. Much more important than just fixing the equipment which is telling us we have a problem, the council need to do much more to tackle air pollution in the city.

“We know that most of Glasgow’s air pollution is caused by traffic fumes, so Glasgow City Council should maximise pedestrianised areas, make safer and better cycle routes and make public transport cheaper and cleaner.”

PM10 and PM2.5 are particles in the air that have been linked to an increased risk of coronary events including heart attacks and unstable angina, while air pollution from PM2.5 is responsible for an equivalent of more than 1500 deaths each year in Scotland, according to research by the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution.

Previously, Friends of the Earth Scotland have dubbed PM2.5 an “invisible killer” and urged the Government to change the law to force councils to reduce its levels.

People with pre-existing heart and lung problems, the elderly and children are especially vulnerable to the particles, which are small enough to cross through the lungs into the blood stream, affecting the heart and blood vessels.

Glasgow City Council carry out daily checks on instrument readings and data, with the equipment being calibrated every fortnight.

A council spokesman said: “Instrument failures are an inevitable consequence of keeping complex monitoring equipment running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“However, the checks and balances in place ensure that where these happen, they are quickly identified and corrected.”

The spokesman added that full audits on instruments are carried out every six months, with data being analysed and ratified every three months.

SCOTTISH Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie warned yesterday that public health is at risk if traffic levels are not cut.

The Glasgow MSP, who has campaigned for better public transport, claimed lessons could be learned by looking to our European neighbours.

He said: “It’s been clear for years that Glasgow’s terrible air quality threatens the health of our own population and visitors alike.

“Ministers and the city council both need to get a grip on the situation and

act boldly to bring down road traffic levels. We could definitely take lessons from many other European cities where public transport is reliable and affordable, streets are safer for bikes and pedestrians and the air is far cleaner as a result.”

via Glasgow most polluted city in the UK as Friends of the Earth Scotland warn on health risks of faulty monitoring equipment – Daily Record.

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