UNIT 5 ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

LEAD-IN
1. Which of these environmental problems are the most serious for our planet?
2. What can be done to prevent them?

• deforestation

• acid rain
• overfishing

• flood

• drought

• overpopulation

• famine
• pollution

• greenhouse effect

• destruction of the ozone layer

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READING & SPEAKING
A. 1. How is life being threatened?
2. Why is it important to protect the environment?
B. Read the text and underline the main environmental problems.

A GLOBAL CHALLENGE
The earth was much healthier and cleaner years ago. However, with the industrialization,
environmental problems started to threaten the world. For the last forty years, the effects of these
problems have increased in such a disastrous way that they are accepted as not only local but also
global. Wherever you go, you see that pollution, deforestation and global warming are among the most
threatening environmental problems.
Pollution is a serious problem. In spite of the precautions, toxic substances, oil spills, the hole in
the ozone layer and acid rain are still threatening the Earth. The toxic substances from factories or
nuclear plants and oil spills cause birth defects and serious health problems. The ozone layer depletion
lets more UV-B rays from the sun into the atmosphere, which causes a rise in skin cancer, a reduction
of fish reserves in the waters and changes in climates. Acid rain increases the amount of acid in rivers
and lakes, so all the living creatures in these dirty waters are under threat. It affects trees and plants
badly and pollutes clean drinking water.
Deforestation is another problem that the earth faces. Despite the strict precautions taken by the
government in order to save the forests, people are still destroying them for different reasons such as
land, housing and timber. According to the latest statistics, one-fifth of the human population is in
danger because the areas where these people live will become deserts in a short time. This
desertification will damage the flora and fauna, and will cause erosion which takes billions of tones of
soil from the Earth every year.
Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth. The carbon dioxide in the
air is responsible for that. Whenever we burn gas and oil, we produce carbon dioxide which traps the
warmth of the sun and makes our atmosphere hotter. Global warming is causing more and more
disasters these days. For example, ice caps are melting and this makes the sea level higher. While
there are floods in some parts of the world, other parts of the world are suffering from droughts and
forest fires.
What can be done so as to overcome these problems? Isn’t there any hope for the future?
Governments and individuals should spend great efforts so that they can avoid further disasters and
environmental problems.

C. Read the text carefully and match the two halves.

 1. The amount of acid in rivers and lakes has increased...
 2. People are still chopping down the trees...
 3. Whenever we produce carbon dioxide...
 4. Every individual should keep their environment clean...
a. we contribute to global warming.
b. in spite of the strict precautions taken by the government.
c. in order that they can avoid environmental problems.
d. as a result, all the living creatures in these waters are at risk.
D. Find which problem mentioned in the text...
1. causes a rise in skin cancers and changes in climates? .................................................................
2. is a threat to living creatures in rivers and lakes? ............................................................................
3. is a great danger for one-fifth of the human population? .................................................................
4. causes erosion, the extinction of species and habitat loss? ............................................................
5. causes a rise in the sea level? .........................................................................................................
E. Work in groups and discuss the following.
1. What are some ways to reduce pollution in Turkey?
2. Who do you think is more responsible for pollution; individuals or the government?
3. What can we do to protect forests?
4. Why should we recycle?
5. How can we protect the environment and at the same time improve people’s standard of living?

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LISTENING & WRITING
A. Tell about the things that people in your town are doing to help the environment.
B. Listen and number the pictures in the order you hear them.
a b c d e f g

C. Say what you should or shouldn’t do individually so that you can have a better environment
using the pictures above.
e.g. I shouldn’t drop litter.
I should raise public awareness about recycling.
D. Complete the paragraph to tell about your individual responsibilities for environmental
problems.
There are lots of things we can do for a better environment. First, .......................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................

READING & SPEAKING
A. What are the causes of fires?
B. Read the text and find the reason for the fire which is not caused by people.
FOREST FIRES IN TURKEY
Although Turkey is a country with a land
mass of 77.079 million hectares, only 20.199
million hectares of it is forested. It represents
about 26% of the country’s total land area. The
Forest Service is responsible for fire prevention
and control activities. According to a survey
conducted by the Forest Service in 2003, the
majority of forest fires in Turkey are caused by
people. 94% of all fires are people-caused
while remaining 6% are caused by lightning.
12% of the people-caused fires are due to
arson, 60% to carelesness, and 22% to
unknown causes.
C. Write the causes of fires in the graph according to the text.
Percentage
100—--
-
—---
-
90—---
-
—---
-
80—---
-
—---
-
70—---
-
—---
-
60—---
-
—---
-
50—---
-
—---
-
40—---
-
—---
-
30—---
-
—---
-
20—---
-
—---
10—----
—----
0—-- Causes
........... ........... ........... ...........

D. Work in pairs and interpret the graph.

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LISTENING & SPEAKING
A. 1. What are the most important environmental problems in Turkey?
2. Look at the pictures and find the names of the pollution. Write A (Air Pollution), I (Industrial
Pollution) or W (Water Pollution).

1 2 3
B. Listen and write the initial letters of the pollution types (A, I, W) into the places where the
problems occur.

1/2.000.000
C. Choose the best answer.
1. Which of these is not one of the causes of pollution in Turkey?
a. a rapid and unplanned urbanization
b. industrialization
c. increase in the number of species

2. Pollution level decreased in Ankara because of using...
a. lignite
b. natural gas
c. alternative energy

3. İzmir suffers from pollution caused by the...
a. cars
b. factories
c. litter

4. Which one is not a reason for marine pollution?
a. the pollution from rivers
b. exhaust fumes of vehicles
c. tanker accidents
D. Are there any organizations in your country which work for the environment? Would you like
to take part in such organizations? Why / Why not?

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READING & WRITING
A. Do you think overpopulation is an environmental problem? Why / Why not?

B. Read the text and find the problems which overpopulation causes.

Overpopulation causes many problems. The first problem is unemployment. There aren’t
enough sources of jobs for all people so only the most qualified ones get a job. Others can’t support
their families. The second problem is poverty. When there is overpopulation, natural resources like
water or food aren’t enough for so many people. That means there is a lot of thirst and hunger in the
world. The last but not least is the high level of pollution. There is a great amount of pollution
because a lot of people go to work by car. Also, people produce a lot of litter and this pollutes both
water and land. To sum up, the more people fill up the world, the more problems we have.

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C. Write T (True) or F (False).

 1. People who have qualifications can find jobs easily.
 2. Thirst and hunger are the reasons for overpopulation.
 3. Thirst and hunger are related to poverty.
 4. Whenever people go to work by car, they contribute to pollution.
 5. The more people live in the world, the more problems we have.
D. Write a paragraph on one of the environmental problems, stating the results.

..................................................................................................................................................................
..................................................................................................................................................................
..................................................................................................................................................................

LET’S PRACTISE
A. 1. Match the questions with their answers.

QUESTIONS
What can be done...
1. to reduce the destruction of the ozone layer? (in order to)
2. to recycle more garbage? (in order that)
3. to prevent air pollution? (so that)
4. to reduce soil erosion? (so as to)
5. not to damage the flora and fauna? (in order not to)
6. not to cause global warming? (so as not to)
ANSWERS
a. The use of aerosols should be banned.
b. People should be encouraged to use public transportation more.
c. Never drop litter in the countryside, take them back with you.
d. You’d better use less fuel and coal.
e. Set up centers to collect bottles, cans and batteries.
f . Governments must educate people to plant more trees.
2. Make sentences using the problems and solutions.
1. .................................................................................................................................................. .
2. .................................................................................................................................................. .
3. .................................................................................................................................................. .
4. .................................................................................................................................................. .
5. .................................................................................................................................................. .
6. .................................................................................................................................................. .
B. Underline the correct word.
1. However / Although the bay has been clean for a long time, you can smell something bad.
2. In spite of / Although the action taken by the Ministry of Health, the recent statistics have shown
a shocking rise in the country’s population.
3. There are heavy fines on overfishing; however / so it’s still going on illegally.
4. Despite / Therefore all the warnings, the students are still dropping litter on the ground.
5. Whenever / Just as the members of the environmental society come together, the chairman asks
for money.
6. In spite of / Wherever he goes, he makes speeches about the importance of endangered
species.
7. The government has to take some precautions so that / so as to some species will no longer be
in danger of extinction.

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LET’S REMEMBER
Fill in with “in order that, so that, in order to / so as to, whenever, wherever, however, such .....
that, despite / in spite of or although”.
• After so that, we use ‘can or will’ for a present / future meaning and ‘could or would’ for past
sentences.
• In order that, so that, in order to, so as to express purpose but in order that is less commonly
used.
• However gives a meaning of opposition.
• After in spite of or despite, we use a noun, a pronoun or -ing.
• Wherever gives the idea of ‘any place’.
• After although, we use a ‘subject+verb’.
• Whenever gives the idea of ‘any time’.

PROJECT
Make a list of the environmental problems in your hometown. Then design a poster which demonstrates
each of these problems.

FUN CORNER

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