The construction industry uses more diesel engines than any other sector, and according to EPA, it generates roughly 32% of all land-based non-road nitrogen oxide emissions and more than 37% of land-based particulate matter 10 micrometers or less in size.
In 2016, Pittsburgh City Council passed legislation known as Clean Construction Diesel Operations, an updated version of the 2011 legislation known as the Clean Air Act. The revised legislation requires city and city-subsidized construction projects over $2.5 million to use best available retrofit technology on all diesel equipment (non-road equipment 50 horsepower or greater and on-road vehicles 14,000 lbs or more.)
In February of 2019, GASP executive director Rachel Filippini joined Mayor Bill Peduto and other local officials in the Duck Hollow section of Pittsburgh for the kickoff of the city’s first “Clean Construction” project.
“We are happy to finally see a city project include the clean construction requirements,” Filippini said. “We know that diesel particulate matter poses one of the greatest cancer risks from any toxic outdoor air pollutant and that black carbon found in diesel pollution is a potent global warming agent.”
Diesel exhaust contains many toxic air pollutants, carcinogens, ozone precursors, and fine particulate matter, which are all linked to negative health outcomes. The benefits of implementing a strong clean construction policy now will be realized for many years to come. As construction companies, developers, owners, governments, and other entities work together to address harmful emissions, they’re also protecting workers, employees, and residents, and prioritizing sustainable practices. Ensuring cleaner air by reducing diesel emissions is just one way to get people thinking more about how the decisions they make daily at work affect people and the environment.
GASP will continue to urge other groups and policy makers to adopt similar policies.
Check out these other articles and additional resources: