Can Air Pollution Be Halted?

Throughout my childhood living in the great state of Texas, my family and I always went on mini camping vacations. One of my favorite places we went was Big Bend National Park, located in far Southwest Texas. Of course this visit was around 15 years ago, and whatever problems they had at the park back then have escalated enough to make top news still to this day. The air pollution was at an all time high back in early 2000s, but the problem is still alive today, and has not been “cured.” One of Texas’s last large wildlife preservation sites is in danger, and something has to be done. Although saving any National Park would be hard, Big Bend would be extremely hard due to the close tie of cause being Mexico.

In an alarming article by Joe Nick Patoski, “Big Bend, R.I.P.?” he discusses the root of the air pollution problem through his personal experience at the park, as well as some damage caused and why the park needs to be saved. Although the air pollution has been coming from all over, Joe suggests that one of the main sources of the pollution comes from Rio Escondido, Mexico (1). In Rio Escondido, there’s two, large coal-fired electrical plants. Although the electric plants in Mexico did not reach our standards, the US couldn’t fight them off due to the $300 million it would cost to bring their plants up to par with our United States standards (1). This causes an even bigger problem, because the pollution of the Texas National Park is out of control due to the pollution being caused from Mexico, leaving the United States with few options.

In Joe Patoski’s article, many commonplaces were found. One main commonplace was that: Electrical plants in Mexico are causing the air to become polluted at Big Bend National Park. A change needs to happen to save Big Bend National Park. The air pollution is putting the wildlife and residents in harms way. The above are a few listed commonplaces, but his article contains many more. Many of them can be found off the basis of those who are residents in Texas, and those concerned with the National Park.

The main founding assumptions of the author were that the electrical plants in Mexico are causing the decline of Big Bend National Park, and that the declining visibility as the air pollution gets worse is causing harm to Big Bend, and those potentially wanting to travel there. Another big point in his article was that although it would be hard to come to a conclusion of fixation, it could be do-able. Patoski strives to save Big Bend, and he has discussed everything he’s attempted to come to a conclusive project conclusion. He has been speaking out to administrators everywhere, and he does believe that many want this park saved, and that it can be saved, and that he’s not alone.

In conclusion, it is very saddening to know that one of my childhood favorite camping grounds is slowly declining due to air pollution. The article provided by Patoski gave me a greater insight on the problem, as well as understanding why it is a really hard fight to tackle. Hopefully Big Bend National Park hasn’t declined too much, and that it can somehow be saved!



Patoski, JN (1996) “Big Bend, R.I.P.?” Texas Monthly. Found Online at:

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