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People have always polluted their surroundings. But until now pollution was not such a serious problem. With the development of crowded industrial cities the problem has become more important. The most serious environmental problems are pollution in its many forms (water pollution, air pollution, nuclear pollution), noise from cars, buses, planes, destruction of wildlife and others.
Air pollution is a very serious problem. One of the most alarming forms of air pollution is acid rain. Acid rain is killing forests in Canada, the USA and central and northern Europe. In the USA 1 in 5 lakes suffers from this type of pollution.
One of the most important problems is depletion of the ozone layer. The ozone layer protects the earth from the sun's ultraviolet rays. The ozone layer is being damaged by chlorofluoro-carbons. They are released by the daily use of industrial and household products, such as refrigerators, air conditioners and so on. Depletion of the ozone layer increases the risk of skin cancer, weakens the immune system of people.
The seas are in danger. They are filled with poison: industrial and nuclear waste, chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The Mediterranean is already nearly dead, the North Sea is following. The Aral Sea is on the brink of extinction.
Another problem is destruction of the tropical forest. It has a major impact on the world climate. The tropical rain forest is a natural protector for our planet. It recycles carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, helps determine temperature, rainfall and other climatic conditions.
An even greater environmental threat is nuclear power stations. After the Chernobyl accident Belarus has become the zone of the ecological disaster. The Chernobyl catastrophe has affected the destinies of millions of people.
If people want to survive they must solve these problems quickly. Some progress has been already made. 159 countries - members of the UN have set up environmental protection agencies. They hold conferences discussing ecological problems and take practical urgent measures to avoid ecological catastrophe. There are numerous public organizations such as Greenpeace. They are doing much to preserve environment.
Answer the questions:
1. In your opinion, is pollution a very serious problem nowadays?
2. Why has this problem become more important now?
3. What forms of pollution do you know?
4. What do you know about acid rains? What suffers from this type of pollution?
5. What do you know about the depletion of the ozone layer?
6. What does the ozone layer protect?
7. Why is the ozone layer being damaged?
8. Why are the ozone "holes" dangerous for the life on the Earth?
9. Why do we say that the seas are in danger?
10. What seas are in danger?
11. What is the natural protector for our planet? What do you know about the destruction of the tropical forest?
12. In you opinion, are nuclear power stations dangerous? Nuclear power stations can cause a lot of trouble, can't they? Why? What have you read or heard about the Chernobyl catastrophe?
13. Which in your opinion is the most serious ecological problem?
14. Why should people solve ecological problems as soon as possible?
15. What have people done in this direction?
16. What public organizations do you know which do much to preserve environment?
Answer these questions:
1. Which environmental problems does your town, village or city suffer? Which are the most serious?
2. Do you think the situation in your country is better or worse than in other countries?
3. What can you do to help your local environment?
4. Can anything be done about global environmental problems? Can the world community solve them and on what conditions?
5. If you had a chance to go on a nature study holiday anywhere in the world, would you go? Or would you be bored? Where would you go?
Read and translate the dialogue:
Bessy: It's an interesting world we live in, isn't it?
Linda: Yes, indeed. We fly to other planets and discover old manuscripts.
Bessy: We build, build and build...
Linda: ...and pollute our beautiful planet.
Bessy: Yes. When I went with my parents to the seaside last summer, I was surprised to see that the water was not blue but brown with rubbish floating in it.
Linda: Besides, millions of tons of oil are released into the sea every year.
Bessy: We can only imagine how many seabirds and animals die because of it.
Linda: And those ozone holes...
Bessy: I think people will be able to solve this problem.
Linda: Let's stop using our aerosol spray right now.
Bessy: That's a great idea!
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