Pollution drops as cargo volumes rise at Port of Los Angeles

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SAN PEDRO, Calif. — Air pollution from port-related sources continues to drop as cargo rebounds at the Port of Los Angeles, according to a recently released report, titled “2011 Inventory of Air Emissions.” Data contained in the report shows that from 2005 to 2011, cumulative harmful emissions at the gateway plunged as much as 76% while container volumes increased 6%. On a year-to-year basis, there has been a decrease up to 7% of harmful emissions.

The latest data also shows the port is three years ahead of year 2014 targets it set for reducing two key pollutants – diesel particulate matter (DPM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) – and the port is on track to meet more stringent 2023 emission reduction goals.

“Cargo volume is growing and air pollution is shrinking,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “By growing sustainably, we’re moving the needle in the right direction for our economy and our quality of life.”

“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, harbour craft and cargo-handling equipment while operating a prosperous, world-class seaport,” said the port’s executive director, Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. “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.”

The report includes data from the 2011 calendar year and compares it with data collected annually since the baseline year of 2005. The data shows the port has achieved the greatest clean air gains in reducing emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx). SOx emissions, as measured in metric tonnes, plummeted 76% over the seven-year period.

Over the same period, the port slashed DPM emissions 71% and emissions from related pollutants (PM10 and PM2.5) 71% and 69% while NOx emissions dropped 51%. Carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions fell 19 percent during the same period.

“There’s no turning back,” said Knatz. “The benefits of environmental stewardship are clear and the Port will continue to lead the industry by growing green through innovation and collaboration with our stakeholders and partners.”

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