Backups at L.A., Long Beach ports cause air pollution concerns

Local news

Pollution is becoming a growing problem for people living near the congested ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Pollution from the 710 Freeway, trains and other sources has long been a problem, but residents say it’s been getting worse as so many ships wait to unload their goods at the ports.

Amelia Blanco, a Long Beach resident for 12 years, said it’s so bad that “if we can afford to move somewhere else, we’ll do it.”

Chris Chavez, deputy policy director for the Coalition for Clean Air, said the area “doesn’t meet national air quality standards,” and the recent logjam at the port is only making things worse.

“Our air is so dirty, it’s illegal… That pollution is going to make it all the more difficult to meet those standards,” Chavez said.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District confirmed that they are seeing increased emissions, which are even reaching the inland communities.

“With significant increases in goods movement, including more than 100 ships parked off our shores that aren’t even at a berth, we are seeing more than a 40% increase in port emissions compared to normal operations. This has real impacts on air quality and associated health effects both for our near-port and our inland communities,” the AQMD said in a statement.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia is asking for assistance at the federal level, specifically when it comes to how far out ships anchor before they unload their cargo at the port.

“The farther out we can get ships to actually anchor before they come into the port, that will actually make a huge difference,” Garcia said.

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