Clean up our air to look after your mind

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Air pollution has a detrimental effect on public health, and while much of the focus is usually on physical health, on Clean Air Day 2023 the focus has shifted to the effect of poor air quality on people’s mental health and wellbeing.

When you breathe polluted air, small pollution particles can enter your lungs, your bloodstream, and your brain. This means that people who breathe polluted air are more likely to develop mental health and brain conditions.*

Being exposed to air pollution is linked to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, which can lead to a poorer quality of life for sufferers.

Recent research has found that air pollution is linked to brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia as well as to a general decline in people’s mental ability. These conditions are heartbreaking for sufferers and their families, and this research proves how vital it is for us all to take major steps to improve air quality.

Low Emission Zones (LEZs) aim to protect public health and improve air quality by restricting access for the most polluting vehicles in city centres. You can check if your vehicle is compliant here.

Glasgow’s LEZ began being enforced on 1 June 2023. Owners of vehicles being driven in the LEZ that don’t comply with emission standards will receive a Penalty Charge Notice. Grace periods are in place for the other three cities in Scotland which have introduced a LEZ, with Dundee beginning enforcement on 30 May 2024 and Aberdeen and Edinburgh’s LEZs being enforced from 1 June 2024.

Taking steps to improve air quality this Clean Air Day and beyond will help to improve people’s physical and mental health and reduce the detrimental effect air pollution continues to have on public health.

To find out more about how you can take part in Clean Air Day 2023, head to

*Information from Action for Cleaner Air