Business & Economy

Companies spend millions to reduce air pollution

Truck drivers headed to the Port of Long Beach in support of the
Truck drivers headed to the Port of Long Beach in support of the "Clean Trucks Program" in 2007. The program requires diesel trucks at the Ports to meet federal clean truck emissions standards and has reduced air pollution.
AP Photo/Jeff Lewis

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Some companies operating in Southern California are spending millions of dollars to help reduce air pollution and it’s showing results.

Los Angeles, Riverside and Long Beach still remain the worst place for ozone pollution nationwide, but the number of unhealthy air days has dropped over the last decade, according to a report by the American Lung Association.

“California and the Los Angeles area have really helped lead the nation in identifying new things you can do to reduce pollution,” said Janice Nolen, assistant vice president for national policy with the American Lung Association.

Nolen said since 1996, ozone pollution in Los Angeles has dropped by one-third.

Matson Navigation Co. spent $14 million to make its diesel-powered ships more environmentally friendly. The Honolulu-based company goes through the Port of Long Beach to bring supplies to Hawaii.

When the company’s eight diesel-powered ships are docked at the Port of Long Beach, they plug into the electrical grid, instead of using diesel, the company said. 

“As a company that has a long history of serving some of the most pristine environments in the world, including Hawaii, Guam and California, Matson has evolved into a carrier focused on setting a high bar when it comes to setting environmental stewardship,” said spokesman Jeff Hull.

There are also federally-funded projects to reduce the amount of diesel emissions into the California air. For example, air pollution control agency South Coast Air Quality Management District will receive about $1 million to change its delivery vehicles to fully-electric trucks.

Meanwhile, Orange-based SA Recycling said it invested millions of dollars for a regenerative thermal oxidizer at the Port of Los Angeles, which eliminates volatile organic compounds from its shredder. Those compounds can contribute to air pollution.

SA Recycling recycles and shreds items like trucks and buses. The shredder can separate metals that contain iron and the company can sell that product to steel mills.  

"We believe that it’s the right thing to do," said spokesman David Thornburg regarding the regenerative thermal oxidizer.  "It’s not always about your bottom line."