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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
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
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
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
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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