Clean-Air Programs Slash Southern-California Ports' Diesel Emissions 72%

Emissions from the Port of Long Beach have dropped sharply since harbor officials launched ambitious clean-air programs nearly five years ago, a new study shows.

Total diesel particulate emissions have dropped 72% between 2005 and 2010, with smog-forming nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides down 46% and 73%, respectively.

The port and South Coast Air Quality Management District looked at emissions from major marine terminals, trucks, ships, locomotives, dockside equipment and other sources operating in Long Beach since a joint plan with the neighboring Port of Los Angeles began in 2006.

The ports have long been noted as the region's largest fixed source of air pollution, emitting thousands of tons of carbon dioxides, a contributor to global warming, and diesel soot, which health officials list as a carcinogen.

"Our contribution to the region's air pollution is declining, and it's declining faster than any other source of emissions in the region," said Thomas Jelenic, assistant director of environmental planning at the Long Beach Harbor Department.

(More on effectiveness of diesel emissions control in Southern California . . . )

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