The dozens of ships queued off the shores of Los Angeles over the weekend, unable to unload goods due to the ongoing labor dispute, have raised concerns about the air quality in Southern California.
Normally, the vessels would be docked and plugged into shore power. Instead, more than 30 ships at a time have been anchored off the ports, burning diesel fuel and releasing exhaust.
However, trucks and trains — also slowed down due to the cargo backlog — may have reduced land-based pollution, according to Port of Los Angeles officials. That could balance out the increased emissions from ships offshore, said Sam Atwood, a spokesman for the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Port officials said air quality monitoring stations in the Port of Los Angeles and neighboring Wilmington and San Pedro have measured pollution levels similar to or lower than they were at the same time last year.
"We can't hide the fact that having those emissions
Photo credit: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times
out there is more than we had anticipated," said Chris Cannon, environment director for the Port of Los Angeles. "It just hasn't come ashore, and we're very relieved about that."
Emissions from the ships are still contributing to smog across the region, air quality experts said. The impact could become more evident this week as a sea breeze that blows pollution inland replaces last week's Santa Ana winds, which had swept pollution toward the ocean.
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