Bottom of the pile?

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GREEN campaigners have spoken out against traffic pollution in Glasgow.

Proportionally, Glasgow’s record is the worst in the continent, according to the European Environment Agency’s annual report.

Their recent study finds that 61 per cent of nitrogen dioxide emissions in Glasgow came from traffic – a greater proportion than any of the other forty cities which were analysed.

Glasgow Green MSP Patrick Harvie told The Extra: “It’s incredible that Glasgow keeps coming bottom of the class but no-one seems concerned enough to tackle the problem seriously.

“High nitrogen dioxide levels have particularly severe effects on the young, especially on the lungs, and society is paying a high price for the car obsession of the main parties.

“The government and the council need to work together to get a grip on traffic levels and learn from some of the bold initiatives tried in other cities.

“It’s clear that Glasgow’s air quality will continue to suffer unless we can get more traffic off the roads, so I’m campaigning consistently for high quality and affordable public transport services. Bus fares have risen way beyond inflation, not just through the current recession but over many years. It’s time to turn that trend around”.

Savio D’Souza, co-founder of Go Greener, a community environmental group, believes East Renfrewshire should shoulder some of the blame.

He said: “There are numerous options that East Renfrewshire can do to help reduce its contribution to this pollution, such as safer cycle routes, better promotion of car share, an interchange station at Williamwood for the new health centre.

“We also need a sensible, affordable and reliable bus service linking up East Renfrewshire to encourage people to leave their cars at home”.

Meanwhile, a Glasgow city council spokesman defended the authority’s record.

He commented: “The report says only that a higher proportion of the pollution in Glasgow is attributable to vehicles — but doesn’t actually say what those levels are. 
“So, a more polluted city may have a smaller percentage attributed to vehicles.

“For example, the lowest rated city (Duisburg) actually has much higher levels of pollution than Glasgow — it’s just that the amount from heavy industry massively overshadows the amount from vehicles. We comfortably meet all European targets”.