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Published: 11 May 2011      

"Cleaner" Port of Los Angeles

Dr Geraldine Knatz
New data from four modern air quality monitoring stations in and around the Port of Los Angeles show concentrations of elemental carbon in the port area air fell in 2010 for the fourth straight year

Elemental carbon is used as an indicator of diesel particulate matter (DPM). At the end of 2010 elemental carbon was down by 50% in Wilmington compared to 2006, says a POLA statement.

A similar pattern occurred at the San Pedro monitoring station. These drops in elemental carbon, to the lowest levels since the port began monitoring in 2005, happened even as cargo volumes at the port have rebounded. In 2010 the port handled 16% more cargo than in 2009, but elemental carbon at both the Wilmington monitoring and San Pedro stations were 10% ower than in 2009.

“I’m very pleased to be able to report that we are living up to our Clean Air Action Plan commitment. We pledged to cut port-related emissions by 45% and these results show that for diesel exhaust we did more,” said the port's executive director, Geraldine Knatz, PhD.

 Concentrations of another key air pollutant related to diesel exhaust, PM2.5 (particles less than 2.5 microns in size) met federal and state standards for the third straight year, and for the first time PM10 (particles less than 10 microns in size) also met state standards in Wilmington (there is no federal standard for PM10).

”This dramatic decline in the amount of DPM and the fact that we have attained air quality standards for both kinds of PM show how effective the measures we adopted in the Clean Air Action Plan are at reducing harmful air pollutants in neighboring communities,” said Chris Cannon, the port’s director of environmental management.

“Every year shows an improvement over the previous year, making me very optimistic that we are going to achieve our Clean Air Action Plan goals.”

Cannon cited the San Pedro Bay ports' Clean Truck Program, the State of California’s restrictions on the sulphur content of fuel used in vessels and equipment operated at the ports, the Alternative Maritime Power programme ("cold ironing"), and the San Pedro Bay Vessel Speed Reduction Program as key measures.

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