Poor air quality is being cited as a contributory cause of around 25 deaths in Moray – and 250 throughout the north east.
The claim is based on a report published by Health Protection Scotland (HPS). In a study conducted throughout Scotland in 2010 and published this week, HPS cite the highest mortality rate where poor air quality was a contributory factor was in the central belt around Edinburgh and Glasgow – but found that the issue exists throughout the country from just six in Shetland to 306 in Glasgow.
Oxides or nitrogen and sulphur dioxide are the main pollutants, the report says, adding: “These can cause irritation of the respiratory system and exacerbate existing health conditions – especially heart disease and respiratory illnesses of vulnerable individuals.
“High pollution episodes can trigger increased hospital admissions especially in those with pre-existing conditions such as asthma.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman admitted that more did need to be done in tackling air pollution throughout the country: “While there has been a clear and sustained reduction in the levels of air pollution over the last few decades these figures show that we cannot be complacent.”
Contributing to poor air quality in Moray in recent years has been dust storms – several caused disruptions in April 2013 while earlier this year Moray motorists were again having to deal with sandstorms.