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UNIT 4. WORKBOOK Listening Section
When you pollute something, you make it dirty or dangerous. It is dangerous to drink polluted water or breathe polluted air, and if you pollute the ground, nothing will grow in it. Pollution can start in a small way — like using a river for waste. But then, pollution grows and grows, until everybody is in danger...
In 1769 some people built a small town in a beautiful place between the mountains and the sea, and called it Los Angeles. They built houses and farms. They found gold and oil nearby. More people came and built towns and factories. The factories worked twenty-four hours a day making useful things; and the people drove to work in big, fast cars. Soon there appeared an airport too. There was more and more smoke and gas from the cars, factories and planes. Then the fog came. Ordinary fog soon goes away; but this fog stayed for a long time. The sun "cooked" the smoke and gases from the factories and cars and made smog — smoky fog. People had problems with breathing. Everybody felt tired and ill; and some people died. Smog was born in Los Angeles. But today, most factories have their own smog — and the problem is growing.
Earth Is in the Danger
New animal species disappear every year. Very often people are responsible for this sad fact. People and animals live in one world. Our land is their land, our trees are their trees, our rivers are their rivers. Very often people put new buildings on empty land. Nowadays they do it very quickly and do not think that this land is some animals' natural habitat. As the result animals lose their homes and have nowhere to go. In the end they can die.
Ordinary power stations produce electricity burning coal, oil or gas. All burning products smoke and gases which pollute the air are dangerous. But cars burning petrol make air pollution even worse. The fact is that oil producers started putting lead in petrol many years ago because lead made petrol burn better. Cars burn petrol and send out the waste gases. Every year people send a lot of lead into the air all over the world. But lead is poison. You take it in through food, water or air, and it stays inside slowly poisoning you. Too much lead can kill.
Polluted water kills more than 25 million people every year. One and a quarter billion people do not have clean safe water for drinking or washing. A little waste in a river is not dangerous; often a river can clean itself. But every day millions of tons of waste from houses, farms and factories get into our rivers and lakes. The waste takes oxygen out of the water, and nothing can live in it. Farm waste often contains poisonous chemicals and they often get into our rivers and lakes. Farmers also use chemicals to grow animals and fruit and vegetables, too. Some of these chemicals are very poisonous. They stay on the leaves of plants, in the insects' and birds' bodies and thus get into the food man can eat.
Nuclear power stations produce electricity but they also produce a special kind of waste. This waste is radioactive, it gives off radiation. A little radiation can save lives: doctors use it in hospitals. But too much radiation is dangerous. You cannot see or smell it, but it travels on the wind. It gets into soil, plants and water and into the food. About 95% of radioactive waste is not dangerous but used nuclear fuel is highly radioactive and very toxic and it stays radioactive and dangerous for thousands of years.
Nowadays people destroy rainforests so important for us. The Amazon rainforest is about a hundred million years old, and has more species of animals and plants than any other place on the Earth. People have now cut down much of this rainforest to plant coffee and sugar. Before 1950 Indonesia had twice as much rainforest as it has today. But Indonesia still sells a lot of wood from its forests to Japan and other countries. Many unique species live in rainforests. Among them there are the world's largest butterflies and the sifaka, a lemur with very long legs that can travel a long way without touching the ground. Rainforests are disappearing fast. How many species of animals are disappearing too?
Accidental or Deliberate Pollution
Some pollution happens by accident. In one Italian town in 1976, there was an accident at a chemical factory. A cloud of poisonous gas killed a lot of people and animals. Everybody had to leave the town. Even the ground near the factory was toxic. Workmen in special clothes had to take it away.
A terrible example of accidental pollution happened in Minimata in Japan. That was the year 1950. At that time, people did not fully understand the dangers of toxic waste. A factory dumped its waste into the sea. That waste contained a very poisonous metal called mercury. It got into the fish. Many people ate fish with mercury in their bodies. Thousands died from mercury poisoning. Thousands never walked or talked again.
In 1986 there was a nuclear accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station. Many people died. Thousands of families had to leave their homes. Workmen had to destroy all the crops and kill the farm animals. They had to take all the earth and bury it in special dumps. But even now people can get ill from radiation poisoning in the area.
But a lot of pollution is deliberate. Some people deliberately dump their waste in dangerous ways because it is cheaper than doing it in a different safe way. Every day factories deliberately dump toxic waste in the river Rhine, for example. The factory managers know that it is wrong, but they still do it because it is cheap. There are many more such examples. Poisonous chemicals from this toxic waste get into the fish and many animals die because they eat the fish with the toxic chemicals in their bodies.
Today, the law in a lot of countries says: "The polluter — accidental or deliberate — must pay." Strong laws are certainly helpful, but it's difficult to catch the polluters and then there are many countries where there are no laws to control pollution.
№ 16 к упражнению 1.
The Changing World
The world around us is changing and not all the changes are for the better. Very often Man himself makes these changes and is responsible for them. The climate is changing — the Earth is growing warmer. Pollution is growing bigger. Air and water pollution have really become dangerous. In summer it is very difficult to breathe especially in big cities because factories and power stations burn oil and coal and as a result poisonous gases get into the air. There is too much traffic in cities — cars, buses, trucks and lorries. They all poison the air. People destroy forests, which give us air to breathe. Several hundred years ago a lot of forests grew in Europe. Today most places in Europe have no forests. People are quickly destroying the rainforests in Africa, Asia and South America. Now rainforests cover only about 6 per cent of the Earth's land. What will the Earth be like at the beginning of the 22nd century? What will our children and grandchildren say then?