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Air pollution rates remain steady

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By Amy Duffy
Dumfries and West
Air pollution rates remain steady

DUMFRIES is one of the only areas in Scotland to maintain a steady air pollution rate.

Friends of the Earth Scotland (FOE) analysed official air pollution data from monitors which are mainly placed in busy areas – such as town or city centres.

FOE is Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation and exists to campaign with partners here and across the globe for ‘a just transition to a sustainable society’.

Their monitors measure nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels, a poisonous gas which is caused by burning fossil fuels in car engines.

In 2019, Dumfries recorded 31.129 micrograms per cubic metre (mcg/m3) of NO2, which then fell by 9.074 to 22.055 in 2020.

The latest figures from 2021 show that there was only a small increase of 0.114 mcg/m3 which, compared to most other areas, is a much more positive outlook.

The legal limit for NO2 is 40 mcg/m3, which was set by the European Ambient Air Quality Directive in 2010.

Exposure to NO2 is linked to health problems because breathing it in inflames the lining of the lungs and reduces immunity to lung infections such as bronchitis.

FOE transport campaigner, Gavin Thomson, said: “2020 was an outlier for obvious reasons and we witnessed unprecedented changes to all areas of public life.

“But for traffic emissions, it was back to business as usual.

“From the evidence we have, virtually every street in Scotland experienced higher levels of pollution in 2021 than the previous year.”

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