AS A green activist and politician, improving air quality is an issue I’ve always campaigned on. But now the situation is critical and we can no longer depend solely on Green MSPs and councillors to speak out.

Earlier this year, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was forced to issue a "very high" air pollution warning after toxic air levels in the city jumped into dangerous territory. Like a scene from a science-fiction film, message signs on the busiest main roads into the city and electronic update signs at the entrances of all 270 London Underground stations were installed to warn of the risk of pollution. It would be easy to assume that these dangers only apply to London, but last year when the UK Government was ordered by a High Court judge to draw up an improved plan to bring air pollution within legal limits, it was suggested that Glasgow should be one of the cities to become a "Low Emission Zone".

The lungs might be the only organ we think of when considering the parts of the body most likely to be damaged by pollution, but the British Heart Foundation points out other dangers. Evidence shows air pollution can make existing heart conditions worse and can cause heart attacks and strokes amongst vulnerable people. Damningly, they advise that people with heart disease should avoid spending long periods outdoors in areas where traffic pollution is likely to be high.

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It’s incredible to reflect that air pollution takes an estimated 2,000 lives in Scotland every year. For many, air pollution will exacerbate existing heart and lung conditions, tipping people over the edge. The growing bodies of the young and the frail bodies of the elderly are particularly vulnerable.

There is no question that the UK Government is not treating this issue seriously, however, the Scottish Government is also implicated.

I have previously challenged Scottish ministers over a lack of action on air pollution from traffic, with the number of air quality zones in Scotland where pollution limits are regularly broken having risen to 38 by January 2017 – five more than last year.

Environmental law campaigners Client Earth have been mounting a long legal action against the UK Government’s weak plans. But in their case they also cite the Scottish Government and other devolved administrations such as London whose plans feed into the UK’s.

At least officials from the London Mayor’s office turned up at the original court hearing to defend its record and point to the inadequacy of Westminster policy. The Scottish Government didn’t even bother to turn up.

The UK Government’s plans were slated by the High Court. They relied on dodgy emissions data from car companies such as Volkswagen rather than real-life exhaust emissions from vehicles running in congested urban streets.

The High Court was also critical that the UK plan pushed action back to 2020 when we should be taking action to save lives today. The Scottish Government has made the same errors and is captured by the same ruling.

That’s why I told the First Minister at FMQ’s on Wednesday that her government is failing to get a handle on dangerous air pollution levels across Scotland.

I’m not prepared to put my family at risk on Scotland’s polluted streets. This is a public health crisis, thousands die every year – and not just in the First Minister’s city of Glasgow, but across Scotland, from Perth to Aberdeen.

The First Minister has to step out of the shadow of toxic Tory plans and urgently review Scotland’s clean-air strategy.

This should have been done last November when the High Court first ruled. Last week it ruled once again that the UK must submit a revised plan within days with a final version in the next couple of months. There is a small window where the Scottish Government could improve actions.

Low Emission Zones (LEZ), where the worst polluting vehicles are excluded or charged entry, are one way forward. So far, the Scottish Government has announced only one pilot LEZ to be launched next year: but what about the other 37 blighted communities?

There are many ways to cut pollution, from rolling out 20mph speed limits to investing in walking and cycling infrastructure, introducing workplace parking levies, and re-regulating bus services.

With 32 new councils forming in the next few days, now is the time for joined-up action at local and national level. I’ll be demanding better leadership from the Scottish Government to clean up our air.