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Air quality in 2014 was ‘worse than ever’ – GSD

Air quality in Gibraltar was worse than ever in 2014, the GSD said as it accused Minister for the Environment, Dr John Cortes, of attempting to give an ‘entirely wrong impression’ of the true state of the situation.

In a statement the GSD said it had conducted further investigations uncovering areas of great concern amid continued concerns raised by members of the public over the issue.

“An analysis of the figures published by the Government for levels of Nitrogen Dioxide, a direct by product of the burning of fossil fuels and a good leading indicator as the figures are not affected by Saharan Dust or Sea Salt as might be the case for particulates, show 2013 and 2014 were the most polluted years on record,” the GSD said.

The annual average reading for Nitrogen Dioxide in Gibraltar was over 52 microgrammes where the EU recommended limit is 40 microgrammes.

Some areas of Gibraltar were almost double this limit with the Glacis Road monitoring station recording an annual average of 70 microgrammes in 2013 and other areas showing a steady increase in levels, the GSD said.

Trevor Hammond, shadow MP with responsibility for the environment, said: “Government was dismissive of the reports issued by both the EU and the World Health Organisation showing that there were concerns with both air and water quality pollution levels in Gibraltar.”

“It now transpires that the Government’s own published figures show air pollution well above acceptable levels in this key metric.”

“I certainly hope that we see a downturn when the 2015 figures are published but it is wrong for Minister Cortes to attempt to give an entirely wrong impression of the true state of our air quality by suggesting it is fine when it is clearly not, all he does is lose credibility. What the Minister needs to do is demonstrate what actions are in place to deal with this matter urgently,” Mr Hammond said.