Los Angeles Takes Steps to Improve Air Quality and Public Health

February 5, 2020

It’s no secret that Los Angeles County is one of the most polluted areas in the country, and home to air quality that poses major health risks for its residents. With motor exhaust being a leading cause of air pollution, progress needs to be made in creating and moving to cleaner transportation options so Southern Californians can breathe clean air.

Improving Public Transit Means Cleaner Air

With the overwhelming number of motor vehicles in Los Angeles County, expanding and improving public transportation systems, while making them accessible to all residents, is one solution that will aid in cleaner air quality. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) recently took environmentally friendly steps to improve air quality and overall public health by using more fuel-efficient vehicles as well as utilizing renewable energy and facilities. Metro is home to the nation’s largest fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) buses, its Orange Line bus rapid transit is going fully electric by 2020, and the entire Metro bus fleet will be electric by 2030.

Expanding and improving public transportation systems, while making them accessible to all residents, is one solution that will aid in cleaner air quality.

Diesel Leads to Health Issues for Angelenos

While Metro makes efforts for greener, cleaner public transportation, one of the biggest sources of pollution in Los Angeles County is the exhaust emitted from thousands of diesel engines powering big rig trucks, trains, ships, and construction equipment. The soot in the diesel exhaust (known as diesel particulate matter) can cause health problems like asthma, COPD, cardiovascular disease and cancer; especially for those living closest to freeways, ports, and warehouse centers. BREATHE California of Los Angeles County, has called for the elimination of diesel trucks at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in an effort to decrease air pollution and improve public health through our End Diesel Now campaign. Demand from local constituents, coupled with action from policymakers, is critical if we are to ever get to zero-emission  fleets by the ports’ target date of 2035.

BREATHE California of Los Angeles County, has called for the elimination of diesel trucks at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach through our End Diesel Now campaign

Target Set on Cleaner Air by 2028 Olympics

But an even sooner target should be 2028 when Los Angeles will be the host of the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, in partnership with Los Angeles County, Metro, CARB and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) developed a Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap that is seeking to accelerate the transition of privately-owned cars and trucks to electric vehicles, which will significantly improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Combined with Metro’s expansion of LA’s transit system that will be up and running by 2028, these changes will improve public health for all.

The Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap is seeking to accelerate the transition of privately-owned cars and trucks to electric vehicles, significantly improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Southern Californians deserve clean air to breathe. While future generations depend on us to make significant changes now to pave the way for a dramatic shift in how we, our children, and their children see and use transportation and the footprint it leaves behind.

Join Breathe LA in calling for an end to diesel fuel now in California!