AN investigation has revealed Greenock Crematorium is severely harming the environment.

The crematorium has no technology in place to reduce harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions created during the cremation process.

This emerged following a Freedom of Information request.

Around 95 per cent of coffins used in cremations are made from chipboard/MDF, and funerals using these produce the same amount of NOx gas as a car driving 2,280 miles.

NOx gases are derived from nitrogen and oxygen combustion under high pressure and temperatures.

There have been almost 55,000 cremations held at Greenock since it opened, all without any system in place to stop these poisonous gases entering the atmosphere.

Environmental campaigners believe Inverclyde Council and other affected local authorities should be doing more to make cremations greener after the UK Parliament declared a climate emergency last year.

West of Scotland MSP Ross Greer said: “Air pollution causes more than 3,000 premature deaths in Scotland every year and, as confirmed last week, it’s getting worse.

“Councils like Inverclyde need to invest in their crematoria to reduce and eliminate the harmful gases and particulates released, for the sake of their own staff, those attending funerals and local residents.

“We know that children and the elderly, as well as those with existing heart and lung problems, are really vulnerable to air pollution.

"For the health of the community, Greenock Crematorium needs these upgrades immediately.”

Inverclyde Council says Greenock Crematorium fully complies with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA) regulations, but made no commitment to install technology there which would reduce NOx gases.

A spokesperson for Inverclyde Council said: “The Greenock Crematorium fully complies with all of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA) regulations.

"Nitrogen oxide filters aren’t required under the operating licence granted by SEPA.

“However, we will be replacing the cremators in the near future and the specification for the new units will take environmental considerations into account.

"We will also discuss the matter further with SEPA to make sure we continue to meet all the appropriate standards and regulations.

“The Greenock Crematorium does have dust filters.

"These include comprehensive self-diagnostic tools to make sure that everything is operating properly.

"They also help to identify potential issues so that they can be addressed through preventative maintenance before problems develop.”