Plymouth is one of the UK’s most polluted cities, according to a new report by the World Health Organiasation (WHO). The data shows 31 cities in the UK have fine particle air pollution levels above 10 micrograms per cubic metre, the safe limit set by the WHO. The fine particle readings for Plymouth are 12 micrograms per cubic metre, exceeded only by seven other cities. Bristol and Saltash are also found to have high levels of air pollution, with readings at the WHO limit of 10 micrograms.
The WHO warn that fine air particle pollution can cause diseases including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory infections. Responding to the finding, Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the region, said:
“These figures are deeply worrying given the deeply harmful effects of fine particle pollution on our health. Our government has shown a shocking disregard for air quality and the UK has consistently been in breach of EU air pollution limits. Indeed, the European Commission and environmental lawyers have had to drag the government through the courts three times now to force them to take action.
“Yesterday Greens announced our support for closing streets to traffic outside primary schools and creating safe routes for children to walk and cycle to school to help improve air quality. Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution and it is important we normalise active travel to make our cities cleaner and the people living in them healthier.”
Molly believes the Plymouth incinerator and waste management in the city are exacerbating the city’s high pollution rating. She said:
“The incinerator plume which spreads its noxious tentacles over the city is certainly not helping. Neither will plans to move lorry loads of bottom ash from the incinerator across the city to a new processing plant. Diesel fumes are the main source of fine particle pollution in our cities.”