Health Protection Scotland (HPS) has produced a briefing note on air pollution and health impacts to coincide with this year’s Clean Air Day on 21 June 2018.
The briefing provides updated figures for the estimated impact of exposure to manmade PM2.5 air pollution by local authorities across Scotland. We first published figures for this in 2014, based on 2010 pollution data. The latest data shows that the levels of manmade PM2.5 have reduced across Scotland from an average of 6.8 microgrammes per cubic meter µg/m3 in 2010 to 5.3 µg/m3 in 2016, representing a 22% reduction. Consequently the impact in terms of adverse impacts on health from exposure to PM2.5 will also have reduced. The briefing provides estimates of what this reduction would mean in terms of impact in each local authority area in Scotland.
Air pollution potentially harms the health of everyone, but there are lots of simple things that can be done to improve air quality and look after our own and other people’s health. Clean Air Day aims to highlight the problems caused by air pollution, which comes from many sources, natural and manmade. It consists of a mixture of harmful particles and toxic gases that are mainly invisible. A significant amount of manmade pollution comes from road traffic and other forms of transport. Road transport also produces a lot of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) which is linked to global warming and climate change.
Polluted air is bad for human health and can shorten life-spans but is especially bad for the young, elderly and people who already have chronic heart and lung conditions. You can check the level of air pollution in your local area on the Scottish Air Quality website.
We are linking with Environmental Protection Scotland (EPS), which is working with the UK organisers Global Action Plan (GAP) and the Scottish Government to coordinate events and activities to encourage people in Scotland to consider environmentally friendly modes of transport and think about how their individual actions impact on the environment.
A number of events are being organised by health boards in Scotland, including in Grampian, Tayside and in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde areas on 21 June 2018. NHS staff are also being encouraged to download specifically designed toolkits. In addition, the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen are staging major free public events to celebrate Clean Air Day.