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Make a list of what causes environmental pollution. Look at the pictures for some ideas and share them with your partner.
Work in pairs and discuss what can be done to prevent damage being done to the environment? The following words and phrases may help you:
Recycle, waste, save, garbage, emit gases, smoke, pour chemicals, cut trees, use pesticides and chemical fertilizers, spill oil, plastic dishes, persuade, authorities, logging companies, oil companies, put filters on chimneys, plant new trees, impose severe penalty, pollution, environment.
Read the text and correct the statements that follow.
The Era of High-Tech Pollution
Nowadays, the recycling of high tech garbage is becoming a big concern. In the last few decades we've been like children in a toy shop, rushing to get our hands on the latest electronic gadgets.Manufacturers have obliginglybrought out new toys faster than we can buy them. And of course the more we buy, the more we have to throw away.
The speed of turnover is very high. Anyone who has ever bought a computer will be aware of the fact that a PC is out of date as soon as you buy it. Computers have an average lifespan of five years, and the speed of development, combined with plummeting prices, is reducing this further. If a computer has a fault, it is more economical to throw it away and buy another than to mend it.
This trend isn't confinedto computers either. Germany, Europe's richest nation, discards 1.5 million tons of electrical appliancesevery year. Only about 100 000 units are recycled. The vast majority are incinerated or thrown on the tip. And this causes serious problems. One of the country's major recycling firms has been charged with dumping toxic waste containing the substance PCB, once widely used in TVs and computers as insulation. Since 1985 its production has been illegal, and disposal is governed by strict rules. But the rules are not being followed.
Klaus Brodersen of Erlangen University is trying to produce a definite classification of what chemicals should and should not be allowed in the production of high tech equipment. But it is an uphill struggle. It costs up to £7,000 to analyze a single component, and so far Brodersen has examined only 200 of the 100,000 most common.
Even such seemingly simple things as computer casings are bafflingly recycle-proof. There are more than 100 different plastics in them. All the casings contain bromine, a kind of toxic flame retardant. It is almost impossible to recycle such plastic and just as difficult to incinerate it.
So what is to be done about electronic waste? The answer to this problem lies in intelligent construction, with an emphasis not only on economy but also on ease of disposal. Increasing the life-expectancy of products would also alleviate the problems. The manufacturer Loewe has developed a green TV which contains just 39 grams of plastic as opposed to the standard 6.7 kilos and 50 grams of toxic materials against 5 kilos. It is expected to last up to 30 years, twice as long as other TVs. Companies like this are showing the way forward, and it is to be hoped that others will soon follow.
1. Anyone who has ever bought a car will be aware of the fact that it is out of date as soon as you buy it.
2. Even such seemingly complex things as computer casings are bafflingly recycle-proof.
3. The price of turnover is very high.
4. Computers have an average lifespan of seven years, and the speed of development, combined with plummeting prices, is reducing this further.
5. Manufacturers have obliginglybrought out new goods faster than we can buy them.
6. If a computer has a fault, it is more economical to throw it away and buy another than to repair it.
7. Nowadays, the recycling of high tech products is becoming a big concern.
4. Complete the sentences with the appropriate words from the text:
1. And of course the more we _______, the more we have to throw away.
2. The speed of turnover is very _______.
3. So what is to be done about electronic _______?
4. Nowadays, the _______ of high tech garbage is becoming a big concern.
5. Even such seemingly simple things as computer casings are bafflingly _______.
6. _______ have obliginglybrought out new toys faster than we can buy them.
7. All the casings contain bromine, a kind of _______ flame retardant.
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