OAKLAND (CBS SF/KCBS) — West Oakland environmental activist Margaret Gordon attended a celebration Friday at the Port of Oakland where the activation of a Singapore-based shipping company’s diesel shut-off equipment will help keep the air clean while its vessels are docked.

Gordon has spent the last 12 years of her life working to improve air quality at the Port that emits diesel toxins, contributing to respiratory illness and other health hazards for the residents of West Oakland.

West Oakland’s asthma rate among children is reportedly higher than the state average.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

Alameda County supervisor Nate Miley chairs the Port Emissions Commission at the Air District. He was among the officials who celebrated the activation of the shore-side power grid of electricity that allows the ship operators to turn off diesel engines while the vessels are docked.

“The people of West Oakland have got the Port next to them and the freeways. Between the trucks and traffic, they’re impacted,” said Miley.

The new equipment will significantly reduce emissions to the surrounding area and Gordon said it’s a step in the right direction, but the activist in her couldn’t leave it at that.

“We still have measurable unhealthy air in areas of West Oakland,” added Gordon.

To further cut pollution, the Port and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board have worked on getting older trucks to be retrofitted with effective air filters.

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