The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released an air-quality report which shows that Glasgow is among the most polluted parts of the UK. The report also states that there are 16 micrograms of fine sooty particles—often linked to diseases, such as heart disease and premature death—in comparison to London, which has 15 micrograms. Scotland is aiming to reduce the level of pollution and will introduce a low-emission zone in Glasgow by 2018.
London has a population of more than 7.5 million, according to World Population Review, in comparison to the greater Glasgow area, which has 1.2 million, but the worrying levels of pollution in the region leaves room for further developments to be sought to keep the levels down.
It has also been reported that 44 towns and cities in the UK are currently in breach of WHO recommendations, having ignored suggestions from the European Commission and the Supreme Court. Air pollution has serious consequences and has played a significant role in the 44,000 deaths which have occurred in the UK due to excessive air pollution levels.
Many people have to call in sick with a staggering 6 million sick days already taken and costing around £22.6 billion a year. With better legislation in place and proactive attempts to tackle high levels of air pollution, lives can be saved, as well as billions in public funds, and we can reduce diseases that stem from pollution.
Dr Toby Hillman of the Royal College of Physicians is one of the authors of the WHO report. He states that “There isn’t a safe limit for the amount of pollution that’s been defined as yet, and we know the effects of poor air quality run from cradle to grave; it’s a lifetime threat to human health.”
Glasgow is a vibrant and well built up city, but its status as the most polluted city in the UK leaves serious room for improvement.