Nitrogen oxides coming to a port near you

nitrogen oxides and air pollution

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Air pollution in ports across America has become a serious issue.   If you go down to any major shipping port, such as the Port of Los Angeles or Long Beach, the air pollution and harmful emissions coming from ships going in and out of the port immediately becomes apparent.   

In the Environmental Defense Fund report “Floating Smokestacks: A Call for Action to Clean Up Shipping Pollution”, it was found that large ocean-going ships in U.S. waters are one of the world’s largest emitters of global warming gases.  

Just as an example, the amount of air pollution created by ships going in and out of the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach is equivalent to 11,000,000 cars.   Yes, 11 million.

And the EPA reports that in 2001, emissions of Nitrogen Oxides in the Los Angeles area, totaled more than 79,908 tons just from off-highway sources.  Highway vehicles then added an astounding 158,339 tons on top of that – not including emissions from industrial fuel combustion, etc.  

As far as how this is harmful to us, once nitrogen oxides are emitted they oxidize in the atmosphere to produce nitrogen dioxide.  Nitrogen dioxide is an odorous, brown, highly-corrosive gas that can affect our health and environment.  It is what you feel in your lungs on a smoggy day.  It’s the brown, dirty air you breathe when pollution levels are high.

So what is being done to reduce the nitrogen oxides coming from the shipping industry?   One company has been taking action through their marine fuel enhancer and they have proven to not only lower harmful emissions, such as nitrogen oxides, but also to improve fuel economy.   Let’s hope others jump on board soon.

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