Защита окружающей среды

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Environmental protection
Environmental protection is one of the main problems of today. Industrial civilisation is characterised by numerous factories and power stations, automobiles and aeroplanes. Technological progress improves people's lives, but at the same time it causes numerous problems that were unimaginable in the past centuries. Through their daily activities people pollute and contaminate land, water and air. Today pollution has become a universal problem. Both the atmosphere of the Earth and the depths of the oceans are poisoned with toxic wastes created by the humans. Millions of species - animals, birds, fish have already disappeared from our planet; thousands of others will be gone tomorrow. Natural resources are exhausted; the ecology of the planet is disbalanced. The survival of our civilisation depends on the ability of mankind to find a way out. The task of protecting the nature is of primary importance now.
Big cities face the environmental catastrophe. Concentration of millions of people on a tiny area causes numerous problems. Some of them can be solved only at the expense of creating new ones. For example, air pollution is caused by the ever-increasing number of automobiles that help to cope with the transportation problem.
The need for energy generates pollution on a large scale. Energy that derives from fossil fuels contaminates the atmosphere. Nuclear power plants threaten air, water and land. The necessity to employ all the inhabitants of the city leads to the creation of new factories that produce not only consumer goods, but wastes and smog as well. Constant carbon dioxide emissions is a characteristic feature of big cities. Pollution of water by both industrial and domestic users creates the problem of water deficit. One form of pollution that is characteristic of large urban cities is noise that has destructive influence on a person's mind. Litter is another issue that people face in big cities. As a result of it big industrial centres today look more like garbage dumps.
It would be naive to think that the environmental problems are limited to big cities only. Our Earth is a living entity; land, air and water are inseparable. Water contaminated in big cities runs to the major rivers that then flow into oceans and seas, thus affecting places far from the point of origin. The atmosphere is in constant movement; the air polluted in the United States can travel the next day to Russia poisoning our people.
Another source of global danger is acid rain. It is a relatively new kind of pollution. Acid rains appeared as a reaction of the atmosphere to the air contamination. Acid rains damage water, forest, and soil resources. Acid rains cause the disappearance of fish from many lakes, bring death to the forests and woods in Europe and America. One more danger comes from the depletion of the ozone layer, which absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. If it continues it will damage all living organisms on our planet.
The only thing that people fail to realise is that humanity is also part of the biosphere and that people depend completely on the environment. The war on nature that mankind is waging today is a kind of collective suicide. People pollute the air that they breathe, poison the water that they drink. The most evident example of such suicidal tendencies is smoking. Smoking not only harms the health of the smoker, but also is destructive for others. That is why many countries passed laws to restrict smoking in public and at work.
Beginning with the 1960s the pollution problems have received great publicity. Recently the environmental movement has gained widespread support. Environmental activists, organisations of volunteers do their best to stop pollution of our planet. Due to such groups many laws aimed at environmental protection have been passed. Such laws as the Clean Air Act, Water Pollution Control Act, Endangered Species Act led to considerable specific improvements in the environment. Numerous chemicals, fertilisers and gases that were once used in agriculture and industry are banned today. Standards for food have become strict, because agricultural chemicals, used for growing crops, may poison people and end up in food and water supply. In many countries purifying systems for treatment of industrial waters have been installed, measures have been taken to protect rivers and seas from oil waters.
Greenpeace organisation was created in 1987. This organisation carries out numerous campaigns against the global environmental pollution. The protection of natural resources and wild animals is becoming a political programme in every country.
Public attention to the problem of pollution has now become part of the contemporary life. The solution of this global problem requires the co-operation of all nations. People also worry about the dangers resulting from massive releases of radioactive materials from nuclear weapons, which, if used on a major scale, could seriously endanger the humanity. Another concern is accidents at nuclear power plants. In 1978 a nuclear power plant in the United States suffered a severe accident leading to radioactive contamination of water and atmosphere. In 1986 the Chernobyl nuclear power plant near Kiev suffered a fire and a serious breakdown that led to a radioactive explosion. The contaminated air was soon carried to northern and eastern European countries that suffered radioactive rains.
To protect nature people should change their attitude to it. Man should stop taking from nature everything he needs and give it his love instead. Otherwise the price that mankind will have to pay will be too high. It is good that at last people started to realise that they should keep air and water clean by establishing strict pollution control. Efforts are made to reduce pollution from automobile engines by developing pollution-free engines, which may eventually eliminate the more serious air pollution problems. Certain countries have already agreed to limit their carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, the strong public reaction can facilitate the exercise of absolute pollution control in various contamination industries.
- Why do some species of animals and plants disappear from the Earth?
- The disappearance of some species of animals and plants from the Earth is the result of the pollution of air, land and water. City and industrial waters, chemicals and fertilisers exhaust natural resources, endanger stocks of fish in the lakes, rivers and ponds. Moreover some animals were exterminated because of the people's greediness. These animals were hunted for the sake of fur or ivory, horns or tusks. In their everyday activity people needed timber turning the areas of thick forests into barren deserts.
- What can you say about global warming?
- Over the past two decades, the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere has gradually increased. Global warming is one of the climatic effects of polluted air. It worries a lot of people.
- What caused the "greenhouse effect"?
- The "greenhouse effect" is caused by carbon dioxide, which prevents heat from escaping. Global warming or the "greenhouse effect" can cause melting of the polar ice caps, raising of the sea level, and flooding of the coastal areas of the world. There is every reason to fear that such a climatic change may take place.
- Has anything been done to solve ecological problems?
- In recent years people have understood the necessity of protecting natural resources and wildlife. It becomes clear that to keep air and water clean, strict pollution control is necessary. Numerous anti-pollution acts passed in different countries led to considerable improvements. In many countries purifying systems for treatment of industrial waters have been installed, measures have been taken to protect rivers and seas from oil contamination. Reservations and national parks for wild animals and undisturbed nature are being developed in some parts of the world.
- What will happen if nothing is done to protect the environment?
- If pollution of land, water and air continues, the damage caused by these to nature may become irreversible. If people carry on like this, the world will eventually run out of energy, fresh air and clean water. It can bring to the extermination of the people and turning the whole planet into either a desert or the North Pole. Serious actions must be taken now to avoid disaster.
 

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