Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Los Angeles Port Study Finds Dramatic Reductions In Port-Area Pollution

Port of Los Angeles officials on Thursday released the port's 2010 Inventory of Air Emissions, which details dramatic drops in levels of all port-generated air pollution compared to levels recorded in 2009.

The report found a sizable 41.9 percent drop in total particulate matter (PM) generated by port activity compared to 2009 levels, and an even more dramatic 72.3 percent drop in total PM over levels recorded in 2005 when the port first conducted an emissions inventory.

The 2010 edition of the report also marks the fourth straight year that the port-funded annual analysis has detailed significant reductions in port-generated pollution.

In addition to drops in total PM levels, the annual emission inventory showed dramatic reductions in all major pollutant categories compared to 2009, including all three individual PM categories, the oxides of sulfur category (SOx) and the oxides of nitrogen (NOx) category.

Diesel particulate matter (DPM) was down 42 percent in 2010 compared to 2009 levels, PM10 levels were down 41.7 percent and PM2.5 levels were also down 42 percent. Particulate matter, the largest of which is most clearly seen as soot in engine smokestacks, is linked to various respiratory problems. The three categories cover increasingly smaller particulates, with PM2.5 being the smallest, and according to most respiratory health officials, the most serious impactor of the three to human health.

Port-generated SOx levels in 2010 were down 45 percent compared to the previous year, and 2010 NOx levels were down 27 percent. SOx and NOx are both related to various respiratory ailments. NOx is also a precursor of smog.

The nearly 230-page port analysis also compared 2010 port-area pollution levels to 2005 levels – the year the port's first emissions inventory was compiled. This comparison attempts to provide a pre- and post-picture of the impacts on pollution reduction afforded by the port's ongoing omnibus environmental program – the Clean Air Action Plan – which was implemented in 2006.

The port's 2010 DPM levels have fallen 72.7 percent from 2005 levels, while PM10 and PM2.5 levels have both fallen 72.2 percent.

The port's 2010 SOx levels have dropped 76.8 percent since 2005 and 2010 NOx levels in the port-area are 52.8 percent lower than those seen in 2005.

The emissions inventory analyzes port-area emissions from forklifts, locomotives, ships, trucks, tugboats and other equipment that move cargo at the port.

The inventory's results were reviewed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

“The air quality in the Los Angeles Harbor is improving as a result of the substantial investments by the port, its tenants and other port-related businesses have made in recent years by purchasing cleaner equipment and participating in a variety of emission-reduction initiatives,” port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz said.

A similar report released less than a month ago by the neighboring Port of Long Beach found si9milar reductions in all pollutants, both compared to 2009 and over the five-year period between 2005 and 2010.

The primary contributing factors for the major reductions, according to both ports, were the ubiquitous use of lower-sulfur fuels by all waterfront equipment – especially the ocean-going ships – and the continued phasing out of the oldest ports-servicing trucks under the port's Clean Trucks Plan that began in 2008.

Other factors include an expansion and high compliance rate of a voluntary vessel speed reduction program where most ships slow down to reduce air pollution within 40 miles of the Port, and the continued changeover of yard equipment and the port-servicing Pacific Harbor Line locomotive fleet.

The full 2010 Los Angeles emissions inventory is available on the port website at www.portoflosangeles.org. The previously released Long Beach inventory for 2010 is available at www.polb.com.