Long Beach cuts pollution by 75 percent

Pollution from port-related sources is reduced for the fifth consecutive year.

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Updated on 10 Aug 2012 11:08 GMT

The Port of Long Beach has announced that its clean air programs slashed air pollution from port-related sources for the fifth year in a row, including a 75 percent reduction in airborne diesel particulates, according to an analysis of key pollutants that compares 2011 to 2005.

The air pollution reductions reflect the port's efforts to aggressively limit or prevent pollution from the ships, trucks, locomotives, tractors and cranes that move cargo at the port.

Commenting on the results, Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners President Susan E. Anderson Wise said: “Our clean air programs are effectively reducing air pollution from port sources – the numbers clearly demonstrate that. But we’re not done. With cleaner fuels, more shore power and other programs, we’re on track to continue to further reduce air pollution from the Port.”

From 2005 to 2011, the Port of Long Beach said all of the key air pollutants from port-related sources were reduced. In addition to the drop in diesel emissions, smog-forming nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides have been cut 50 percent and 80 percent respectively from 2005 levels. Greenhouse gases were lowered by 23 percent. Meanwhile, containerized cargo activity fell by 10 percent in the same period.

Each year, the port compiles an “emissions inventory” to calculate the amount of air pollution released from all port-related sources, and compares the data with the baseline year of 2005. The report released this week is for the 2011 calendar year. The study's results were reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The use of lower-sulphur, cleaner fuels by all waterfront equipment - but especially the oceangoing ships - and the phasing out of the oldest drayage trucks were said to be the primary contributors to the air quality improvements.

On July 1, the port also implemented the “Green Ship Incentive Program,” which offers cash incentives to shipping lines for bringing the newest, cleanest cargo vessels to the Port of Long Beach. The program is the latest in a long line of efforts to improve air quality locally.

The Emissions Inventory is conducted to monitor progress with implementing the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan.

The Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) is a strategy for reducing air pollution and emission-related health risks. The plan contains measures to address every mobile source of air pollution stemming from goods movement in and around the ports.v The CAAP was adopted in 2006 and updated in 2010 by the Long Beach and Los Angeles harbor commissions.

For the complete inventory, please visit www.polb.com/emissions.