Cleaning up transportation-sourced air pollution a difficult (and dirty) job

A quick assessment of all of my prior blogposts reveals 31 out of 64 deal with air quality or air pollution issues as it relates to transportation. That’s nearly half.

If you’re wondering why such a high concentration, what I can tell you is the majority of the world’s air pollution is transportation sourced.

As it relates, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) on its Web site reveals 57 percent of the Valley’s air pollution comes from motor vehicles.

On its Web site the SJVAPCD notes, “The Valley is particularly vulnerable to air pollution formation because of its topography, climate, and growing population. Surrounding mountains trap airborne pollutants near the Valley floor where people live and breathe. In addition, the Valley’s hot, summer temperatures promote the formation of harmful ground-level ozone (also known as smog). Finally, as population levels increase, so does air pollution. More people equals more cars and more activities that contribute to poor air quality.”

Meanwhile, the European Environment Agency (EEA), in its report: “The contribution of transport to air quality – TERM 2012: transport indicators tracking progress towards environmental targets in Europe,” on page 34 is a breakdown per pollutant category. Six pollutants – Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Non-Methane Volatile Organic Compounds (NMVOC), Sulfur Oxides (SOx), Primary Particulate Matter 2.5 microns or less in diameter (Primary PM 2.5), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Particulate Matter 10 microns or less in diameter (PM 10) – are identified. Pollutant percentages are then shown for subsector modes, these being: aviation (domestic and international), maritime (domestic and international), and railway and road, transport.1

image1 249x300 Cleaning up transportation sourced air pollution a difficult (and dirty) job
Source: European Environment Agency, 2012

According to EEA data, the breakdown for the six pollutants as it pertains to transportation is as follows:

  • NOx – 58%
  • NMVOC – 18%
  • SOx – 21%
  • PM 2.5 – 27%
  • CO – 30%
  • PM 10 – 22%

Because the transport sector is responsible for producing the lion’s share of the world’s air pollution, in terms of mitigating such, I hold firm and fast the belief that the clean-up spotlight should be shined on transportation first and foremost. That approach seems to me the most sensible.

Notes:

  1. “The contribution of transport to air quality – TERM (Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism) 2012: transport indicators tracking progress towards environmental targets in Europe,” EEA (European Environment Agency) Report, No. 10/2012, p. 34, http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/the-contribution-of-the-transport-1.
button print blu20 Cleaning up transportation sourced air pollution a difficult (and dirty) job

About Alan Kandel

Alan turned hardscrabble technology related experience into a professional writing gig and has never looked back. Alan resides in California's heartland - the San Joaquin Valley.

7 thoughts on “Cleaning up transportation-sourced air pollution a difficult (and dirty) job

  1. “Because the transport sector is responsible for producing the lion’s share of the world’s air pollution, in terms of mitigating such, I hold firm and fast the belief that the clean-up spotlight should be shined on transportation first and foremost. That approach seems to me the most sensible.”

    In case you haven’t noticed they are already working on that pollution source.

    As much as 25 per cent of all Valley air pollution comes from smoke pollution and is totally preventable, but not as long as doctor death is in charge of air quality here in the Valley.

    With the air pollution from burning wood for just one night equivalent to the air pollution from driving a car for an entire year, it is rather obvious that people who burn wood to heat their homes and charcoal to cook their meals are making an inordinate and unwelcome contribution to air pollution here in the Valley and should be assessed a stiff pollution penalty if not an outright ban, especially now that Chinese air pollution is here to stay in the Valley.

    With wood and charcoal smoke now proven to increase mortality rates and shorten life spans especially in men, and especially in men who live close to one of these hundreds of thousands of toxic hot spots, why is wood and charcoal smoke pollution applauded and approved by the Valley air board and the public health department? Are they intentionally killing us on purpose?

    Maybe, just maybe it is time for air officials and public health departments to get off their lazy asses and crawl out of their caves and enter the modern world and provide Valley residents with air that doesn’t kill older adults and is safe for our children to breathe.

    DOCTOR DEATH IS TRULY IN CHARGE OF AIR QUALITY HERE IN THE VALLEY

  2. For what it’s worth, in “L.A. wintertime weather pattern prompts ‘no-burn’ alert and who’s minding your chimney?” (http://alankandel.scienceblog.com/2012/11/26/l-a-wintertime-weather-pattern-prompts-no-burn-alert-and-whos-minding-your-chimney) I wrote: “For multiple-repeat offenders who are caught, they could pay for the installation and maintenance of chimney-smoke monitors provided they are available given they’re likely going to be shelling out big bucks anyway. As a matter of fact, I could envision these devices working similar in principle to electric and gas smart meters even, in that they would have the built-in capability of reporting violations both automatically and remotely. Anyone tries to tamper with such there could be an app for that. Sure would make AQMD’s enforcement work a whole lot less complicated.”

    Barring significant meteorological change as in far more in the way of wind and rain events, strict adherence of rules by the Valley citizenry at large to guarantee attainment of the national, California and San Joaquin Valley ambient air quality health standards for fine particle pollution is absolutely essential for the kind of improvement in air quality that is desired. My suspicion is until the issue becomes important enough to enough people, the Valley continually be in violation of air quality standards.

    1. “strict adherence of rules by the Valley citizenry at large to guarantee attainment of the national, California and San Joaquin Valley ambient air quality health standards for fine particle pollution is absolutely essential for the kind of improvement in air quality that is desired”

      Herein lies the scam. Ambient air quality health standards have little to nothing to do with the air that we as RESIDENTS actually breathe. Ambient air can be well within acceptable health limits, but if your neighbor cooks with charcoal and wood or heats his home with wood you are exposed to toxic waste products that far exceed all health standards, and there is absolutely nothing any air quality board in California will do to rectify this health hazardous situation on your behalf.

      DOCTOR DEATH IS IN CHARGE OF AIR QUALITY IN CALIFORNIA

      1. Doctor Death?

        Yes it is pretty bad in Long Beach harbor area.

        We kept our boat in Shoreline marina and the fallout on the marina from the harbor was very bad. Had to wash the diesel and oil fallout off the boat weekly. We moved the boat to Alamitos Bay and now have very little black fallout from the harbor.

        Long Beach is slowly cleaning up some of the port mess. The fallout path is pretty bad. This map below shows the fallout areas. Not good.
        http://www3.aqmd.gov/webappl/matesiii/
        http://caap.airsis.com/
        http://www.epa.gov/diesel/projects-national.htm

        The port is pushing for even more electric powered vehicles now. The tugs in the past put out a lot of diesel smoke, now many are electric hybrid motors.
        http://www.professionalmariner.com/September-2012/Fosss-second-hybrid-tugboat-employs-new-more-powerful-lithium-polymer-batteries/

        The main problems now are the dirty bunker fuel a lot of ships still burn and the trains that still burn diesel oil. Also, the trucks used in and around the ports need to swap over to electric engines from diesel.

        The oil islands contribute very little to the harbor pollution now since not much drilling is going on anymore. They have more problems in central coast than we do since they have a lot more platforms. The gulf is a total nightmare with the number of platforms they have.
        http://www.cccarto.com/leases/santabarbara/index.html
        http://www.cccarto.com/gulf_platforms.html

    2. Yes,

      A few weeks ago we had a inversion alert where nobody could have a chimney or chimayo fire.

      The winter weather is getting a little warmer latter each year.

  3. California does produce a huge amount of air pollution from transport sources, that is true, however it is also a huge economy- larger than the size of many whole countries! Personally I would like to see more investment in railways, which produce less pollution per mile than road freight. Road freight is more economical, however, so this would need some subsidy from the state, at least for the initial investment in rails.

  4. The regulatory focus should be redirected from some poor guy in the valley cooking hot dogs on a grill for his kid’s birthday party and onto the Federal and State governments that won’t adequately fund effective wildfire fighting strategies and infrastructure (like large air tankers, only 7 available instead of the 50 needed), thinning out of forest under growth (misguided Interior Department policies) and bark beetle control (kills millions of acres of trees in the U.S. which easily catch fire) to prevent massive wildfires in California and across the U.S. that release giga-tons of ‘black carbon’. Dual-fuel fuel injection systems to retrofit the aging diesel truck and rail fleets (also, new LNG-powered trucks are available all 6 major truck manufacturers through Westport Industries technology) to use LNG as a replacement fuel for diesel, cutting emissions almost in half (with lower fuel prices).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>