Oct 26, 2015
Port of Los Angeles officials have admitted that they have been violating a legal settlement that the Port signed more than a decade ago, to reduce pollution.
Port officials have been allowing one particular company, China Shipping North America, to violate requirements such as turning their ships’ engines off and plugging in to electricity when docked. The diesel-run engines of so-called “supertankers” are so huge, just one of them can generate more pollution than thousands of cars. China Shipping was also allowed to violate rules about using less-polluting fuel in trucks and yard tractors. And we can bet that it wasn’t just this one company that was given a pass.
What port and company officials have been doing is truly criminal. The residents of the area suffer from diseases such as asthma, heart disease and cancer at such high rates that doctors have long dubbed the area around the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach the “Diesel Death Zone.” And China Shipping alone accounts for 20 per cent of the container volume at the port, one of the busiest in the world.
The consequences are deadly for the millions of working-class people who are forced to live in the area because they can’t afford to move elsewhere. And especially for their children, who are more vulnerable to the chronic diseases caused by pollution, and suffer from them all their lives.
This blatant, deliberate negligence by the port officials is a direct result of their readiness to help big companies to increase profit.
If port officials or the companies are to be held accountable for their criminal actions, it certainly won’t happen through lawsuits and “legal channels” overseen by the authorities. That’s one thing this whole pollution scandal shows.