1. If a friend asked, "What has the environment to do with us?" what would your answer be?
2. What can you do to be environmentally-friendly?
3. Why is it sometimes difficult to be environmentally-friendly?
Now read the passage below. You can look up the meanings of the words and phrases in bold in the Vocabulary Study section that follows.
Manufacturers are currently competing with each other to produce a form of green packaging. Packaging is an important part of marketing these days, but much of it is a threat to the environment. There are two reasons for this. The production of such packaging uses up a great deal of energy and the cartons, wrappers, etc are often difficult to dispose of when they become waste material.
People in most countries have become aware of the damage which modern living is doing to the environment, and many of them are concerning themselves with the conservation of the environment for future generations. Thus, both politicians and scientists are now looking at the issues of energy-saving and waste disposal with a view to making them more environmentally-friendly.
As far as packaging is concerned, it is vital that it is either recyclable or biodegradable. For example, instead of throwing out newspapers and glass bottles with their household rubbish, people in several countries are being encouraged to put these in special containers to allow the material to be recycled. Some household waste, such as vegetable peelings, is naturally biodegradable and so decomposes gradually until it disappears.
Man-made goods are not so easily disposed of. Goods and packaging made of plastic create waste material that is particularly difficult to get rid of. This means that huge landfill sites have to be dug out so as to bury the plastic waste underground, possibly causing problems for future generations.
Just as much of a problem is industrial waste, since the effluent from factories often contains chemicals which can lead to the pollution of water supplies. Waste from factories has to be monitored carefully in order to avoid this.
Technological advances using nuclear power have added to the waste problem. The disposal of nuclear waste causes particular concern because it is radioactive and so possibly dangerous to life.
The high standard of living, which the people of many countries now enjoy, has resulted in a huge increase in waste material. This could have a terrible effect on the ecology of the planet. There is no doubt that urgent action must be taken to save our environment from possible disaster.