How to Reduce Pollution in Ports

Published: 2017-12-06 12:35:31
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Sewanee University of the South
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Essay
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Recommendations

There are recommendations for future research that I would make. First, the new modeling systems for these engines should be synthesized to identify which is more effective and how it can be used to inform future developments. If there are any engine additions that are causing more harm than good, then the research should recommend ways of making corrections such that the engine is restored. Second, a new way of determining the value of emission factors should be identified so as to avoid discrepancies in results as the presently used values are only estimated and assumed. Here, the research should focus on identifying ways that the value for the emission factors can be determined accurately, while reduce the cost associated with the process.  Third, professionals, the government and members of the local community should be involved in the studies on emission so as to ensure all parties are aware of the results, progress and changes that are required to make the environment safer. As such, more informed decisions will be made while purchasing vehicles and even ocean going vessels since both the old and newer versions are still available in the market. If the community is aware of what engines are improved, they will make the right purchase. Research, therefore, should be conducted on how best to involve all the aforementioned parties. Lastly, policies and regulations should be implemented to protect the environment by ensuring that mobile sources leading to high emissions should no longer be used, instead the improved versions should be adopted.

It is important to consider some of the milestones made by the EPA and other bodies such as ENVIRON. These efforts have been aimed at regulating the amount of emissions from the ports. Examples of strategies have included technological advancement of the building the vessels. Although programming the locomotives has been a major contributor to reducing the emissions, more needs to be done such as changing the source of the fuel. Still, more research and development is being done on how to effectively reduce the emissions and their effects. More is being done on the engines being made for these vessels, especially category 3 which is composed of the large vessels. More is also being done on various systems in the vessels operations such as injection pumps. According to the regulatory agencies, every organization is tasked with ensuring reduced emissions based on the certified strategies. Another important aspect as identified by the HEI (2012) is that of the effect of the emissions to the surrounding people health. Such effects include breathing challenges.

Truck Emissions

The efforts by EPA are quite informative, but still it lacks credibility due to how most of the emission factors are only estimates and not the actual values. As such, the varying results and assumptions derived from other researches and sources such as the SCAG may be because of this gap that needs to be improved in future researches. 

In 2011, Health Effects Institute (HEI) published two studies related to these hot spots. In one of these studies led by John Splengler from the Harvard school of Public health, it was noted that the U.S border that crosses into Buffalo New York represented a potential hot spot as approximately 4000 trucks cross here daily (HEI, 2012). This, however, is not the case as when this is compared to other sites in the U.S, the levels were not elevated. This was attributed to the fact that winds blew from this site, thus emissions were being transported to other areas. However, the fact that this research recognizes hot spots as an area where a lot of trucks pass through can be used to further inform future research. It is now known that the areas where trucks are in high numbers may not necessarily be hotspots as wind can blow off the emissions to nearby areas. 

This research by HEI (2012) relates to the results obtained from the report by the Los Angeles Collaborative for Environmental Health and Justice (2010). The difference, however, is that the latter has indeed identified hotspots that suffer from the results of the emissions as no wind blows them to other areas. This report identified toxic hotspots including East Los Angeles, Southeast Los Angeles, parts of the San Fernando Valley, and communities surrounding the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach (L.A.C.E.H.J, 2010). These areas were noted to feature high emission levels from both stationary and mobile sources of pollution; hence they face elevated health risks. According to the research, the percentage of each group living in a community containing facilities emitting high priority pollutants in Southern California are as follows; 5.7% Anglos, 7% African Americans, and 9.8% Latinos (L.A.C.E.H.J, 2010). Therefore, the areas suffering from the effects of emissions do not necessarily have to be the ports, but neighboring areas as well since the wind can blow off the emissions. 

Sources and Gas Emission Control

This research, therefore, has identified the main sources of pollution, which can be contained or controlled by application of Miguel’s (2006) idea as discussed below. According to Miguel (2006), emissions reductions from port trucks can be obtained by fleet modernization through the installation of diesel particulate filters (DPFs), oxidation catalysts, NOx reduction technologies, or possibly through the use of other verified strategies. These technologies represent varying degrees of effectiveness for PM control and their application, especially with DPFs, can be limited. Replacement of older higher emitting engines with newer cleaner emitting engines by repowering or replacing the existing truck is the most effective strategy, although significantly more expensive, for reducing both PM and NOx emissions. (Miguel, 2006). Qi, Salehi & Wang (2013) also agree with Miguel’s (2006) suggestion on how to mitigate port truck emissions. 

Qi, Salehi & Wang (2013) state that mitigating port truck emissions to the greatest extent possible will help lessen the harmful effects of pollution on the surrounding population centers. The quantity of cargo handled by United States ports has increased significantly in recent years. Based on 2004 data, almost 2.7 billion tons of cargo passed through the ports in one year (Qi, Salehi & Wang, 2013). To protect the U.S., all of this cargo must be inspected by U.S. Customs Border Protection (CBP) officials in the most effective manner possible (Qi, Salehi & Wang, 2013). This is why the Heavy Duty Trucks spend so much time on the ports, thus creating the possibility of a hot spot. Just as it has been suggested by the SCAG (2012), the more time trucks spend on the ports, the more emissions they cause. Furthermore, the slow movements associated with the inspection also relates to the argument by EPA (2011) that the slower the movement the higher the emission. Therefore, this argument is closely related to various other results from similar research. Although they may have been conducted at different times, it is clear that there is indeed some truth to this position of present research. 

Therefore, the present research has identified that there is indeed a drastic increase in the port emissions by Heavy Duty Trucks, as is noted when Miguel (2006) is compared to SCAG (2012). Although there are different types of mobile and stationary objects in the ports, the Heavy Duty Trucks are the major contributors to the emissions as the SCAG (2012) notes. Additionally, as both the HEI (2012) and L.A.C.E.H.J (2010) suggest, hot spots are regions whereby emitting objects are available in high numbers, such as ports whereby trucks await in line for inspection. However, at times, a potential hot spot may fail to experience the side effects of pollution as wind may blow the emissions to neighboring regions, thus leading to the impacts on their health status, instead of it affecting the people living in the hot spots. Further, the Port of Houston Authority (2016) and Miguel (2006) have come up with ways of how these port emissions can be controlled, for example, through the use of filtering systems and the abandoning of old trucks for new improved heavy duty trucks with newer engine versions. The fact that two different researches have come up with a similar result makes the argument plausible and truthful. Therefore, this will be used in future research to answer any questions that will help to better fill the gaps in literature with regards to port emissions. For example, it would help if researchers identified how the new improved engines perform to minimize emissions since the fuels used are still the same. In case a different fuel is used, it would help inform future research as it would be known that the fuel matters. This, therefore, is the position of current research. 

sheldon

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