Friday, April 29, 2011

Long Beach Port Awards $5M for Local Health Programs

The Port of Long Beach announced last week the awarding of $5 million in grants to fund ten projects aimed at improving what port officials call "the lung and heart health of people who live closest to the port."

The port funds will pay for projects that will educate families on asthma care, screen at-risk populations for respiratory illness, and build a cardiovascular disease diagnosis laboratory.

Announced recipients of the funds include: St. Mary Medical Center; The Children’s Clinic; the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services; the Long Beach Comprehensive Health Center; the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America; the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma; BREATHE California of Los Angeles County; Miller Children’s Hospital of Long Beach; Cambodian Association of America; and, the Westside Neighborhood Clinic.

“These grants [are going] to health programs that directly help the people most affected by air pollution from the goods movement industry,” Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners President Nick Sramek said.

“We continue to work to reduce air pollution at the source, but these grants help us address the overall effects of the Port’s presence.”

The grants, which range from $120,000 to $835,000, include health outreach projects to inform people – especially the most sensitive – about care and prevention of respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses. Other projects involve mobile units to bring health outreach and screening programs directly to the communities closest to the Port, and air filters for a children’s hospital.

The award recipients were selected by the port with input from a five-member advisory committee representing the community, industry and a regulatory agency.

The port has long struggled to combat both legacy pollution issues as well as the pollution from daily operations in and out of the immediate port area. Since the 2006 implementation of numerous pollution-cutting programs contained within the port's Clean Air Action Plan, port-generated pollution has collectively been reduced by 50 percent, including a more than 80 percent reduction in pollution from port-servicing diesel trucks.