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Environment Protection

Environment

Environment


Environment Protection
«Ecology» is a very popular word today. But what does it mean? Ecology is a science which studies the relationships between all forms of life on our planet and the environment. This word came from the Greek «oikos» which means «home». This idea of «home» includes our whole planet, its population, Nature, animals, birds, fish, insects and all other living beings, and even the atmosphere around our planet.
Do all of them live a happy and healthy life in our common home nowadays? Unfortunately not. Since ancient times Nature has served Man giving him everything he needs: air to breathe, food to eat, water to drink, wood for building and fuel for heating his home. For thousands of years people lived in harmony with the environment and it seemed to them that the resources of Nature had no end or limit. With the industrial revolution our negative influence on Nature began to increase. Large cities with thousands of steaming, polluting plants and factories can be found nowadays all over the world. The by-products of their activity pollute the air we breathe, the water we drink, the fields where our crops are grown.

Every year the atmosphere is polluted by about 1000 tons of industrial dust and other harmful substances. Big cities suffer from smog. Cars with their engines have become the main source of pollution in industrial countries. Vast forests are cut down in Africa, South America and Asia for the needs of industries in Europe and the USA. The loss of the forests upsets the oxygen balance of the new wastelands. As a result some species of animals, birds, fish and plants have disappeared and keep disappearing. Rivers and lakes dry up. One of the most recent examples is the Aral Sea, which has become much smaller due to man’s activity. The pollution of the air and the world’s oceans and the thinning of the ozone layer are the other problems arising from man’s careless attitude to ecology.
The protection of the environment is a universal concern. Active measures should be taken to create an international system of ecological security. Some progress has been made in this direction. 159 countries — members of the United Nations Organisation — have set up environmental protection agencies. A lot of conferences have been held by these agencies to discuss ecological problems, some of which are of extreme urgency.
In Russia and the former Soviet republics there are some areas where the environment is in a poor state. The Aral Sea, Lake Baikal, the Kuzbass, Semipalatinsk and Chernobyl. For decades nuclear weapons were tested near Semipalatinsk, and the ground is contaminated with radiation there. More than twenty years ago a pulp-and-paper factory was built on the shore of Lake Baikal. As a result of the pollution, more than 50 per cent of the world’s purest water has been ruined. The whole ecological system of the lake has changed greatly. After the disaster in Chernobyl the inhabitants of the nearby towns and villages had to be evacuated. Some of them died and some have become invalids. Ecological catastrophes do a lot of harm to Nature, but they are much more dangerous for Man. The question is whether mankind is going to live or die.

Сегодня «экология» — очень популярное слово. Но что оно означает? Экология — это наука, которая изучает отношения всех форм жизни на планете с окружающей средой. Само слово происходит от греческого «ойкос», что означает «дом». Идея «дома» включает в себя всю нашу планету, ее население, природу, животных, птиц, рыб, насекомых — то есть всех живых существ, и даже атмосферу, которая окружает планету.
Можно ли сказать, что все они сегодня живут счастливой и здоровой жизнью в нашем Доме? К несчастью, это не так. С древнейших времен природа служила человеку, давая ему все, в чем он нуждается: воздух, чтобы дышать, пищу, чтобы есть, воду, чтобы пить, дерево, чтобы строить, и топливо, чтобы обогревать дом. На протяжении тысяч лет люди жили в гармонии с окружающей средой, и им казалось, что природные ресурсы бесконечны и безграничны. С началом промышленной революции наше негативное влияние на природу начало увеличиваться. Сегодня по всему миру можно найти большие города с тысячами дымящих и загрязняющих окружающую среду заводов и фабрик. Отходы их деятельности загрязняют воздух, которым мы дышим, воду, которую мы пьем, поля, на которых растет наш урожай.
Каждый год атмосферу загрязняет примерно 1000 тонн промышленной пыли и других вредных веществ. Большие города страдают от смога. Автомобили со своими моторами стали в индустриальных державах главным источником загрязнения. Для нужд промышленности в Европе я США вырубаются огромные леса в Африке, Южной Америке и Азии. Потеря лесов нарушает кислородный баланс вновь образовавшихся пустых пространств. В результате некоторые виды животных, птиц, рыб и растений исчезли или исчезают. Реки и озера высыхают. Один из недавних тому примеров — Аральское море, которое уменьшилось в результате деятельности человека. Другие проблемы, возникшие из-за беззаботного отношения людей к экологии, — это загрязнение воздуха и мировых океанов, а также постепенное разрушение озонового слоя, который становится все тоньше.
Защита окружающей среды — всеобщая забота. Необходимо предпринять активные меры, чтобы создать международную систему экологической безопасности. Кое-какой прогресс в этом направлении уже достигнут. 159 стран — членов Организации Объединенных Наций учредили агентства до охране окружающей среды. Эти агентства провели много конференций, на которых обсуждались экологические проблемы, иногда крайней срочности.
В России и бывших союзных республиках есть районы с плохой экологической ситуацией. Это Аральское море, Байкал, Кузбасс, Семипалатинск и Чернобыль. Десятилетиями около Семипалатинска испытывалось ядерное оружие, и почва там заражена радиацией. Более 20 лет назад на берегу озера Байкал был построен целлюлозно-бумажный комбинат. В результате из-за загрязнения более 50 процентов чистейшей в мире воды было испорчено. Вся экологическая система озера сильно изменилась. После чернобыльской катастрофы жителей ближайших городов и деревень пришлось эвакуировать. Некоторые из них умерли, а некоторые стали инвалидами. Экологические катастрофы причиняют большой вред природе, но еще более они опасны для человека. Вопрос в том, будет человечество жить или погибнет.

Environmental Pollution
People have always polluted their surroundings. But until now pollution was not such a serious problem. People lived in uncrowded rural areas and did not have pollution — causing machines. With the development of crowded industrial cities which put huge amounts of pollutants into small areas, the problem has become more important. Automobiles and other new inventions make pollution steadily worse. Since the late 1960’s people have become alarmed with the danger of pollution.
Air, water, and soil are necessary for existence of all living things. But polluted air can cause illness, and even death. Polluted water kills fish and other marine life. On polluted soil, food cannot be grown. In addition environmental pollution spoils the natural beauty of our planet.
Pollution is as complicated as serious problem. Automobiles are polluting the air but they provide transportation for the
people. Factories pollute the air and the water but they provide jobs for people and produce necessary goods. Fertilizers and pesticides are important for growing crops but they can ruin soil.
Thus, people would have to stop using many useful things if they wanted to end pollution immediately. Most people do not want that of course. But pollution can be reduced gradually. Scientists and engineers can find the ways to reduce pollution from automobiles and factories. Government can pass the laws that would make enterprises take measures for reducing of pollution. Individuals and groups of people can work together to persuade enterprises to stop polluting activities.

Questions:
1. Why wasn’t pollution such as a serious problem earlier?
2. When have people become alarmed with the danger of pollution?
3. What can environmental pollution cause?
4. Why is pollution a complicated problem?
5. Can pollution be stopped immediately?
6. What can government and individuals do to reduce pollution?

Загрязнение окружающей среды
Люди всегда загрязняли окружающую среду. Однако до последнего времени загрязнение не было такой серьезной проблемой. Люди жили в слабозаселенных сельскохозяйственных областях, у них не было загрязняющих природу машин. С развитием перенаселенных промышленных городов, в которых огромные количества отходов выбрасывались на маленькой площади, эта проблема стала гораздо серьезней. Автомобили и другие новые изобретения делают загрязнение все интенсивнее. В конце 60-х годов люди начали ощущать тревогу в связи с опасностью загрязнения окружающей среды.
Воздух, вода и почва необходимы для существования всех живых существ. Однако загрязненный воздух может послужить причиной болезни и даже смерти. Загрязненная вода убивает рыб и других морских животных. На загрязненной почве не могут выращиваться пищевые культуры. Кроме того, загрязнение окружающей среды портит природную красоту нашей планеты.
Проблема загрязнения окружающей среды так же сложна, как и серьезна. Автомобили загрязняют воздух, но пре-доставляют людям возможность передвижения. Фабрики загрязняют воздух и воду, но они предоставляют работу людям и производят необходимые товары. Удобрения и пестициды важны для сельского хозяйства, но они могут разрушать почву.
Таким образом, людям пришлось бы прекратить пользоваться многими полезными вещами, если бы они захотели прекратить загрязнение окружающей среды сразу. Большинство людей, конечно, этого не хочет. Однако загрязнение может быть сокращено постепенно. Ученые и инженеры могут найти пути сокращения загрязнения от автомобилей и фабрик. Правительство может издать законы, которые бы заставили предприятия принять меры для уменьшения загрязнения. Отдельные лица и группы людей могут сотрудничать, чтобы убедить предприятия прекратить виды деятельности, вызывающие загрязнение окружающей среды.
Источник: 100 тем английского языка. Авторы Каверина В. Бойко В. Жидких Н.

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.