Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Air Pollution Down at Port of LA, Study Finds

Strong anti-air pollution policies at the Port of Los Angeles have led to a decrease in cumulative harmful emissions at the port by as much as 76 percent from 2005 to 2011, while container volumes increased six percent during the same time period, according to data in a newly-released study by the port.
On a year-to-year basis, there has been a decrease of up to seven percent of harmful emissions, according to the port’s 2011 Inventory of Air Emissions, which was released Aug. 2.

The data also shows Los Angeles is three years ahead of its 2014 targets for reducing two key pollutants – diesel particulate matter and nitrogen oxides – and the port is also on track to meet more stringent 2023 emission reduction goals.

The study’s results prove that the investment the port and its partners have made in clean air continues to pay off, POLA Executive Director Geraldine Knatz said.

“By developing and executing our Clean Air Action Plan and fine-tuning our pollution reduction strategies on a regular basis, we are cutting harmful air emissions from ships, trains, trucks, harbor craft and cargo-handling equipment while operating a prosperous, world-class seaport,” she said.

“Our customers and industry stakeholders – which run the operations that keep the cargo moving through Los Angeles – also play a substantial role in this positive trend through their investments in cleaner equipment and more sustainable practices,” Knatz said.

The new Inventory of Air Emissions reports data from the 2011 calendar year and compares it with data collected annually since the baseline year of 2005. It shows that Los Angeles has achieved the greatest clean air gains in reducing emissions of sulfur oxides, or SOx, which plummeted 76 percent over the study period.

Over the same seven years, diesel particulate emissions and emissions from related pollutants were reduced 71 percent  according to the study, while NOx emissions dropped 51 percent. SOx and NOx are key components of smog, and DPM is an identified toxic air contaminant and known carcinogen.

In 2011, nine percent of all SOx emissions in the South Coast Air Basin were associated with Port operations – a nearly two-thirds drop from 25 percent in 2005. Likewise, diesel particulate emissions from the port as a percentage of total DPM in the region shrank to three percent in 2011 – down from 10 percent in 2005. NOx emissions from port-related sources were three percent in 2011 – down from five percent in 2005.

Among the strategies the port has employed in pollution reduction efforts include its Vessel Speed Reduction Program; low-sulfur fuel requirements for ships; the Clean Truck Program whose final ban on drayage trucks with pre-2007 engines took effect Jan. 1, 2012; engine retrofits and gradual vessel replacement of older harbor craft; retrofit and turnover of cargo handling equipment; and replacement of older rail equipment with cleaner line haul and switcher locomotives.

Highlights of air emissions inventory can be seen at http://www.portoflosangeles.org/pdf/2011_Air_Quality_Report_Card.pdf.