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Amazon and retail giant Target are playing an ‘outsized’ role in the current congestion and pollution crisis at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in the US, a new study has revealed.

According to the report by non-profit environmental groups Pacific Environment and Stand. Earth, fossil-fueled cargo container ships have idled off the shores of the San Pedro Bay Ports for months, bringing higher levels of asthma and cancer-associated air pollutants, including particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur oxide, into the port-adjacent communities.

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Retail brands and cargo carriers are winning big in the current swell of consumer demand fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic, reporting record-breaking profits.

“The shipping crisis is also an opportunity, and these companies can choose to be industry leaders and early adopters of zero-emission technology, or they could put short-term profit over public health and the climate by making empty net-zero commitments that put off action on climate change until it’s too late,” the report elaborated.

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Retail brands and cargo carriers are both major contributors to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

According to the report, Amazon has unique control over its shipping supply chain and appears to be consolidating this control rapidly.

“Their own shipping heavily favors West Coast routes from China and as they increase their control over parcel delivery, they are bringing more shipping and other transport traffic and pollution to the ports of LA and Long Beach,” the report mentioned.

It remains to be seen if the company’s growth in their transportation business will be an opportunity for greener technology or will outstrip their climate targets and lead to greater emissions, it added.

“For months, fossil-fueled cargo container ships have idled off the shores of the San Pedro Bay Ports, bringing higher levels of asthma and cancer-associated air pollutants including particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur oxide into the port-adjacent communities of San Pedro, Wilmington, and West Long Beach,” according to the report.

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