Concerns over a rise in air pollution in Galloway

The Galloway coastline looks beautiful but walking through it might be hazardous, claim Friends of the Earth
The Galloway coastline looks beautiful but walking through it might be hazardous, claim Friends of the Earth

The people of Galloway were breathing the worst quality air in all of Scotland earlier this week.

That is according to Friends of the Earth Scotland, the environmental pressure group claiming that a ‘perfect storm’ of conditions, both natural and man-made, saw pollution in the region’s atmosphere breach official safety levels on Monday and Tuesday.

Gavin Thomson, the group’s Air Pollution Campaigner, said: “This episode has been caused by a combination of pollution drifting in from other countries mixing with the traffic fumes being belched out by vehicles on our streets.

“People with lung or heart problems are particularly at risk. If people do experience symptoms, the government’s official health advice is to consider reducing strenuous physical activity, particularly outdoors.

“People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often.

“The levels on the streets today are illegal and unsafe and yet again highlight the need for strong action from the Scottish Government to protect its citizens.

“People, particularly those with health conditions, need a much more comprehensive warning system.

“Air pollution events such as this one need to be widely communicated to the general public, with enough advance to allow people to limit their exposure.”

And he called for an increase in bus services and safe cycle and walking routes to cut car pollution.

Commenting, the Scottish Government stated: “We are controlling pollution in Scotland by working with SEPA as the environmental regulator for industrial emissions and developing domestic policies and initiatives to improve air quality.”