Act Now to Preserve the Future, Houston Ship Channel



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There is a growing concern of the amount of pollutants and carcinogens released into the air and waterways around Baytown, Texas. Baytown contains the second largest oil refinery in the United States, owned by ExxonMobil. Besides the Exxon plant, there are many other plants that are smaller in size, but still a couple square miles in area, who release many toxic chemicals into the air daily, these chemicals in the air join the water cycle. They condense into clouds with the water and then rain down on the environment. The air pollution can also be absorbed by plants and trees, where the toxins then are a part of the food cycle. Current regulations on releasing pollutants allow a maximum amount of chemicals released, or burned off, per day. Beyond that limit, the chemical plant receives a large fine for breaking the rule. However, this fine only seems like a large sum of money for the average person, but to a multi- billion-dollar company, it is only a drop in the bucket. The current penalty is not enough for the companies to risk the efficiency of production for preservation of the environment. Research obtained in the Special Collections department of the Library provided me with more information on past pollution. I collected my data from Water Resources Data for Texas, Vol. 1 by the U.S. Department of the Interior, which contained information on Cedar Bayou. This bayou is directly connected with the Houston Ship Channel, just south of the Fred Hartman bridge, and was actually a part of the route I took to engage in my field research. This source is filled mostly with raw data numbers. The part that I focused my attention to was the “Water Quality Data” for Cedar Bayou. In the data, I found that there were reports of concentrations of Lead, Mercury and Arsenic between November 1975 and September 1976 (U.S. Department of the Interior 556).



Pollution, Baytown, Houston Ship Channel, Toxic Waste, ExxonMobil, Houston, Water Quality, Pollution, Baytown, Houston Ship Channel, Toxic Waste, ExxonMobil, Houston, Water Quality