– THE DIRTY OLD MAN OF EUROPE –
Acid rain is one of the most serious problems for the environment. It is caused mainly by power plants that bum coal to produce electricity. The smoke from these power stations contain high levels of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which mix with the moisture in the air and  fall to the soil in the form of rain or snow.

Acid rain causes damage to buildings, farms and fisheries, forests and lakes and to human health. The British government has done little to reduce the damage caused by acid rain in the last few years. This damage costs the European Community more than $12 billion every year.

Environmentalists have discovered that Britain is responsible for the greatest amount of European air pollution, but the government has only recently decided to take any action. When acid rain falls onto soil, it absorbs the aluminium from the soil and carries il into rivers and lakes. In June 1988, a report in The Observer suggested a connection between senile dementia, weakness of mind, and aluminium in drinking water in many parts of England and Wales.

When it falls onto plants (including trees), acid rain causes chemical imbalances, resulting in death. In 1985, a survey by the Friends of the  Earth discovered that more than two thirds of the trees examined had suffered from the effects of acid rain. Britain, and especially the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB), is the largest single polluter of European air.

The power stations around Selby give off more sulphur than Portugal, Norway,  Ireland and Switzerland together. According to the Friends of the Earth, more than 70 percent of British sulphur emissions fall outside Britain because of the air movements from the British Isles to continental Europe.

This is one of the reasons for the acid rain in Europe. Other European nations have seen the damage and have started to act. They have formed a club which is trying to reduce the sulphur emissions by 30 per cent by the year 1997. Britain, however, has constantly refused to join this club although the ost of the reduction would only be about £2 billion over ten years.

If ne government does not take action very soon, there will be a crisis in the European ecology 35 in the near future.

 

QUESTIONS
A. Mark the best choice.

1. Line 13, ‘absorbs’ means .

a) damages and destroys b) collects and holds c) has a large number of d) reduces the amount of

2. Which of the following is not true?

a) Sulphur pollutes the air severely. b) Sulphur emissions are largely due to power stations.

c) Sulphur in the air falls onto soil as dust. d) Sulphur emissions cause acid rain.

 

B. What do the following refer to?
1. ‘if (line 14):
2. They* (line 30):
C. Mark the statements as True (T) or False (F).

1. The European Community spends more than $12 billion each year trying to cure people who suffer from illnesses because of acid rain.

2. The British government has been taking effective measures against air pollution for a long time.

3. According to a report, the aluminium in drinking water may result in an illness which causes weakness of mind.

4. Portugal, Norway, Ireland and Switzerland together pollute the air as much as Britain does alone.

5. The European ecology is in danger unless the British government takes measures immediately.

 

1. Who is the “Dirty Old Man” in the title?
2. Why do trees suffer from acid rain ?
3. What is the purpose of the ciub formed by the European nations?

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