More people die from air pollution in Edinburgh than in any other city in Scotland, a new analysis of data has shown.
Analysis from the urban policy researchers and charity Centre for Cities identified the Capital as having the highest proportion of deaths attributable to pollution in the country, ahead of Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen.
More than one in 29 deaths are caused by air pollution in the Capital, the analysis shows, with 157 deaths being linked to the pollutant PM2.5 which can be both man-made and natural, including dust, ash and sea-spray. While the overall number of deaths is lower than greater Glasgow, which had 354 deaths, the proportion is higher, with Edinburgh seeing 3.7 per cent of deaths attributable to air pollution while greater Glasgow has 3.4 per cent.
Andrew Carter, chief executive of Centre for Cities, said living in places with high pollution levels such as Edinburgh is killing thousands of people every year.
He said: “More than half of people in the UK live in cities and large towns. While these offer people good employment and lifestyles, they also having a damaging effect on health, with air pollution killing thousands of people living in cities every year.
“People in Scotland should be at the centre of the fight against its toxic air and councils should take the steps needed, including charging people to drive in city centres and banning wood-burning stoves. To help, the government needs to provide Scottish councils with extra money and to introduce stricter guidelines.
“Failure to act now will lead to more deaths in Scotland.”
Warnings over the level of dangerous pollutants – particularly particulate matter such as PM2.5 which is small enough to enter the bloodstream – followed the announcement with the British Heart Foundation stating air pollution increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
James Jopling, head of BHF Scotland, said improving air quality was “imperative” to allow people to live for longer.
He said: “Air pollution is a serious public health issue and evidence of the negative impact toxic air has on our health is increasing all the time. BHF-funded research has found that air pollution damages our blood vessels, increasing our risk of blood clots, and in turn heart attacks and strokes.”