Air pollution from Puget Sound ports is declining, survey finds
Source: Craig Welch, Seattle Times
Five years ago, environmental regulators discovered that nearly a third of the worst air pollution around Puget Sound was linked to the region's marine system.
Tugs, ferry boats, oceangoing vessels and the trucks, trains and forklifts that ferry goods to and from container ships made communities around the region's ports among the dirtiest places in the state.
But they're improving fast.
On Tuesday, a new detailed survey of air emissions showed the most dangerous type of pollution associated with the maritime industry the tiny toxic particles found in diesel exhaust had declined 16 percent overall since 2005.
Tougher federal standards on fuel and engine types combined with incentive programs adopted by agencies such as the Port of Seattle are dramatically reducing air pollution across the region's maritime industry.
The toxic exhaust from heavy trucks is down more than 50 percent, while exhaust from trains serving the ports is down a quarter. Diesel emissions from oceangoing ships far and away the single dirtiest sector of the shipping industry, accounting for more than 60 percent of the marine industry's air pollution are down 16 percent.
"Federal regulations have helped, but we set goals to go way beyond that and we are," said Stephanie Jones Stebbins, director of seaport environmental planning at the Port of Seattle.
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