I've been in Houston for 4 days now, and I'm leaving for Austin today... and not a moment too soon, as the air quality here leaves much to be desired...
I feel what seems like chemicals searing through my nostrils... and I've been told that it's due to the refinery and chemical plants located in areas such as Pasadena and Texas City. It's a shockingly vast expanse of industry, as I noted it from the buildings as I was touring a medical complex in town here on my visit.
Lackadaisical environmental regulation from the Bush Administration and the lack of EPA enforcements contributes to this problem.
...but it doesn't have to be that way. The citizens in Houston can choose to NOT TOLERATE their city and air being awash in the toxic soup spewed forth by this industry. They can demand accountability from industry and better air quality.
Folks protest and bring to the attention of the world-at-large the behavior of what I refer to as "eco-saboteurs" everyday. Environmentalists in Oregon strap themselves to trees to battle insane policy on the management on our national forests and unreasonable practices by the logging industry. Also in the Pacific Northwest, similar groups organize and find solutions to preserve and enhance river habitat to further healthy salmon spawning runs. Native American tribes and the populous of Arizona and Colorado keep mining industry at bay to make sure they behave and are accountable to the damage they have created with their practices.
It's all about choices... we all have the choice to decide what we are going to stand up for, or if we're going to accept the status quo. The citizens of Houston and Texas can choose to not tolerate the status quo...
Frankly, I don't understand why they do. I simply don't get it. S