Long Beach Port Slashes Diesel Air Pollution

Long Beach Port Slashes Diesel Air Pollution

A hybrid tugboat the Port of Long Beach.

A hybrid tugboat at the Port of Long Beach.

The Port of Long Beach has cut diesel particulates by 81 percent from 2005 through 2012, according to an analysis prepared by Starcrest Consulting Group.

Furthermore, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides were cut by 54 percent and 88 percent, respectively, in the same period, and greenhouse gases were lowered by 24 percent, all of which outpaced a 10 percent decline in containerized cargo activity, the report said. The results marked 2012 as the sixth consecutive year of air quality improvement in the California harbor area.

The reasons for the air quality improvement included bigger ships carrying cargo more efficiently; newer ships with cleaner engines; the Jan. 1, 2012, deadline for full implementation of the Clean Trucks Program; increasing use of shore power; and a new low-sulfur fuel rule for ships that started in August 2012.

“We’ve been aggressively pursuing cleaner air for a long time and as you can see from these numbers, we are succeeding,” said Thomas Fields, president of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, in a written statement. “We’ve committed to do even more, to continue to reduce air pollution and its health effects.”

The study was reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the port said.