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Ports are important sources of revenue to governments but in most cases, they present serious health problems to the local communities and the ecosystem in general. The proposed expansion of the Los Angeles and long beach ports has resulted to conflicts between the ports planning staff and citizen groups in San Pedro Bay in California. The citizen groups are concerned with the health problems that would be associated with such expansions, which include cancer, heart problems and asthma. The port’s planning staff however maintains that there will be minimal emission of specific air as a result of the port’s expansion. Pollution will also be reduced because the ships would have shorter idling times (Solomon, 2009). The citizen groups however feel that the planning staff’s position is “out of context”
1) Planning Staff considered the problem of air emission out of context
To be out of context in this case would mean that the findings by the planning staff does not look at the problems in totality, instead it only focuses on the air emissions ignoring other sources of pollution and interference such as noise pollution, the effects of the bright lights produced by the port’s equipment to the human population and the ecosystem.
The planning staff never looked at the serious problems the port presents to the local community and the ecosystem other than those that result from emission. The planning staff also fails to examine the increase in traffic, such increased cargo trains, lorries and other vehicles as a result of the expanding port and the increased pollution rates they present (Harboring Pollution: The Dirty Truth about U.S. Ports, 2004). The planning staff is therefore “out of context” by failing to examine the problem in terms of all sources of pollution.
2.) Health officers can adequately respond to the problems presented by the port
Problems caused by pollution in the port are complex and therefore require much analysis, research and appropriate actions that would help mitigate the problems. The health officers and the planning staff are equally important t in addressing the issues. However, since this issue has serious health concerns that should be addressed, the health officers would be at a better position to solve the problems (Bailey, 2004). The planning staff is more concerned with fulfilling the objective of expanding the port and increasing revenue and will therefore not offer the best solutions to the problems. The regions health officer has the capacity of conducting an in-depth research on the health issues that would be caused by the expansion of the port, present the port’s staff with the problems and recommendations, which can be adopted to help reduce the environmental problems caused by the port’s expansion.
3.) Stakeholders importance in this case
Being a complex issue, various stakeholders should be involved in solving the problems. These stakeholders include the public health officers, environmental and occupational health officers, policy makers such as legislatures, state political and administrative leaders, pediatric and epidemiological experts among others. An understanding of the causes of the problems, the effects to the local community and the ecosystem is very important and therefore it is important to have various experts who would carry out an extensive research on these issues and come up with conclusive recommendations (California Environmental Protection Agency, Air Resources Board , 2008). Implementation of risk management strategies requires policies and actions from the government and congress and therefore the relevant representatives and authorities would easily make that possible.
4.) Effects of emission regulations on the ability of Los Angeles and long beach ports to control air emission by diesel-powered ships
In controlling diesel truck emissions, most of the old diesel trucks were restricted access to southern California to help reduce the emissions. The action therefore meant that fewer trucks were available to haul the containers to and from the port. This causes a major challenge to the port’s efforts of limiting air emission by the ship most of which are diesel powered. This is because the ships took longer to clear the cargo. This increases the amount of emission thereby presenting a new challenge of controlling the emissions.