The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 is awarding a $1.4 million Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grant to the University of Puerto Rico’s Medical Sciences Campus to replace 15 old heavy duty drayage trucks, the agency announced.
The university will also develop seminars for diesel vehicle owners and the general public in Puerto Rico to raise awareness about the harmful environmental impacts of diesel emissions, including idling, and resources available to help reduce diesel emissions.
“It is particularly important that we are making this grant announcement to reduce diesel emissions during Asthma Awareness Month,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “Puerto Rico has high asthma rates. This grant will be a great step toward improving public health and air quality in the areas surrounding the Port of San Juan.”
“Our ultimate goal is to reduce asthma rates and improve overall health for Puerto Ricans,” said said Aluisio Pimenta, professor at the Medical Sciences Campus.
The Puerto Rico Health Department confirms that 15.5% of children suffer from asthma along with 12.2% of adults on the island.
The grant will target areas that are particularly affected by the transportation of goods by drayage trucks going to and from the Port of San Juan. This project will replace trucks with engine model years from 1996-2006 with 2013 or newer trucks. The work for this grant will begin immediately and continue through the Spring of 2022, the EPA stated.
It is estimated that this grant will reduce particulate matter emissions by 3.2 tons and nitrogen oxide emissions by 43.3 tons for the lifetime of the vehicles. This is the fourth DERA grant that EPA has awarded to the UPR’s Medical Sciences Campus.
In total, EPA has awarded close to $5 million for the replacement of 57 trucks and the retrofitting of 58 trucks, resulting in an estimated total particulate matter emissions reduction of 40.7 tons, and a total nitrogen oxide emissions reduction of 500.1 tons.