Diesel exhaust consists of the black smoke that we see, as well as invisible particulate matter (PM). Particulate matter, especially particles of 2.5 microns or smaller, has been linked to such health problems as asthma attacks and asthma onset, coughing and breathing difficulty, chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function, heart attacks, stroke, and premature death, including crib death in children. Children, the elderly, and people with existing respiratory ailments are especially sensitive to particulate matter.
Diesel exhaust poses a serious risk to Allegheny County residents’ health. Diesel exhaust shortens the lives of hundreds of Pittsburghers each year, and triggers hundreds of heart attacks and thousands of asthma attacks.
To tackle this enormous problem, GASP is leading the Allegheny County Partnership to Reduce Diesel Pollution, together with Clean Water Action. This campaign’s goal is to reduce toxic diesel pollution from all diesel vehicles, including school buses, transit buses, garbage trucks, construction vehicles, locomotives, and marine vessels operating in Allegheny County.
Find out more about:
Allegheny County’s Off-Road/Construction Idling Regulation
City of Pittsburgh Waste Haulers
Clean Construction Legislation
Cleaning up school buses
Pennsylvania’s Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicle Idling Act
There are many options for reducing diesel exhaust that GASP advocates for in our community:
- Installation of retrofits, such as diesel particulate filters (DPFs) and diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs)
- Requiring ultra low sulfur diesel fuel or cleaner alternative fuels
- Installation of closed crankcase ventilation systems, especially for school and transit buses
- Engine rebuild and replacement
- Truck stop electrification programs
- Requiring cleanup of trucks and construction equipment used in public works projects
ACHD and PA DEP should include diesel cleanup measures as federally-enforceable requirements in our State Implementation Plan for the attainment of fine particle and ozone air quality standards. Allegheny County and many of the counties adjacent to us have been designated in non-attainment for fine particulates. Reaching attainment will require a unique strategy that addresses both local and regional stationary sources as well as mobile sources.