Text #46 Pollution In Britain

Before the grass has thickened on the roadside verges and leaves have started growing on the trees is a perfect time to look around and see just how dirty Britain has become. The pavements are stained with chewing gum that has been spat out and the gutters are full of discarded fast food cartons. Years ago I remember travelling abroad and being saddened by the plastic bags, discarded bottles and soiled nappies at the edge of every road. Nowadays, Britain seems to look at least as bad. What has gone wrong?

The problem is that the rubbish created by our increasingly mobile lives lasts a lot longer than before. If it is not cleared up and properly thrown away, it stays in the undergrowth for years; a semi-permanent reminder of what a tatty little country we have now.

Firstly, it is estimated that 10 billion plastic bags have been given to shoppers. These will take anything from 100 to 1,000 years to rot. However, it is not as if there is no solution to this. A few years ago, the Irish government introduced a tax on non-recyclable carrier bags and in three months reduced their use by 90%. When he was a minister, Michael Meacher attempted to introduce a similar arrangement in Britain. The plastics industry protested, of course. However, they need not have bothered; the idea was killed before it could draw breath, leaving supermarkets free to give away plastic bags.

What is clearly necessary right now is some sort of combined initiative, both individual and collective, before it is too late. The alternative is to continue sliding downhill until we have a country that looks like a vast municipal rubbish tip. We may well be at the tipping point. Yet we know that people respond to their environment. If things around them are clean and tidy, people behave cleanly and tidily. If they are surrounded by squalor, they behave squalidly. Now, much of Britain looks pretty squalid. What will it look like in five years?


True/False / Not Given


1.It is not obvious that Britain has become soiled before the grass has thickened and leaves have started growing on the trees.

2.We can find pavements stained with chewing gum, and discarded fast food cartons everywhere in Scotland.

3.If the rubbish is not cleared up and properly thrown away it stays in the undergrowth for 100 years.

4.Years ago the writer travelled abroad and was upset because of rubbish at the edge of every road.

5.The litter which is created by our enormous mobile lives remains a lot longer than before.

6.10 billion plastic bags will take from 100 to 1,000 years to decay.

7.The writer sees no solution for the pollution problem in Britain.

8.Michael Meacher borrowed some ideas from the Irish government.

9.The plastic industry protested against recycling waists of plastic.

10.People respond to their environment.

11.According to the text if things around people are clean and tidy they start littering all around.

12.A tax on non-recycled carrier bags reduced their use by 90% in three month.

13.Michale Meacher had been a minister for 5 years.

14.Soon the country may look like a huge municipal rubbish tip.


Multiple choice questions:

1. The writer says that it is a good time to see Britain before the trees have leaves because

a/ Britain looks perfect.

b/ you can see Britain at its dirtiest.

c/ you can see how dirty Britain is now.

d/ the grass has thickened on the verges.

2. According to the writer, things used to be

a/ worse abroad.

b/ the same abroad.

c/ better abroad

d/ worse, but now things are better abroad.


3. For the writer, the problem is that

a/ rubbish is not cleared up.

b/ rubbish last longer than it used to.

c/ our society is increasingly mobile

d/ Britain is a tatty country.

4. Michael Meacher

a/ followed the Irish example with a tax on plastic bags.

b/ tried to follow the Irish example with a tax on plastic bags.

c/ made no attempt to follow the Irish example with a tax on plastic bags.

d/ had problems with the plastics industry who weren't bothered about the tax.

5. The writer thinks

a/ it is too late to do anything.

b/ we are at the tipping point

c/ there is no alternative

d/ we need to work together to solve the problem

6. The writer thinks that

a/ people are squalid.

b/ people behave according to what they see around them

c/ people are clean and tidy

d/ people are like a vast municipal rubbish tip  



Text #47 Books and Readers

Task: Matching  - Below is information about 8 different books. Choose one book for each person that best matches their interests. Choose "None" if there isn't a match.

Rachel is a photographer. She has a long train journey tomorrow and she'd like a good detective story, if possible one with a female detective, which will hold her attention for several hours.

Dean is from California. He's visiting Europe this summer with a guided tour. He wants an amusing book that will inform him about a European country and its way of life.

Norman is away from work after an operation. He doesn't usually read much, but he'd like something to pass the time. He is fond of animals and likes finding out about unusual people.

Gina is a nurse. She likes to read short stories in her meal breaks. She's not keen on action or crime stories, but prefers something gentler, especially descriptions of people's feelings and relationships.

Melanie travels around Italy on business quite often. She wants a book that offers well-organized information as she sometimes has time for a little sightseeing between meetings.

1. William Holt - Trigger in Europe

 This is the story of the author and his horse as they travelled twenty thousand miles through Europe. They slept over 400 nights in the open through the four seasons of the year. Over the Alps, the Apennines and the Dolomites they went, eating, sleeping and facing hard times together

1. Rachel 2. Dean 3. Norman 4. Gina 5. Melanie 6. None

2. Barbara Paul - A Cadenza for Caruso
It is 1910. The New York Metropolitan Opera House is preparing a new Italian opera by Giacomo Puccini. It will star Enrico Caruso, the famous singer and friend of Puccini, but a murder disturbs the preparations and Caruso's friend is suspected! Can he save his friend in time? An exciting read for lovers of music and crime.

1. Rachel 2. Dean 3. Norman 4. Gina 5. Melanie 6. None

3. Alta Macadam - Blue Guide to Italy
This has been described as 'the best guide in English' to Italy. It includes detailed information on history, churches, museums and art galleries as well as some practical information about hotels, restaurants, transport and so on. There are suggested tour routes, backed up with maps, town plans and illustrations.

1. Rachel 2. Dean 3. Norman 4. Gina 5. Melanie 6. None

4. Sara Paretsky - Deadlock
Another dective starring detective Vicki Warshawski. Vic has a personal interest in her latest case. Boom Boom the ice-hockey champion was Vic's cousin. Now he's dead. Vic thinks he was murdered. Why else would her questions about his death lead to other deaths in the Chicago area? You'll stay up all night to find out.

1. Rachel 2. Dean 3. Norman 4. Gina 5. Melanie 6. None

5. Elizabeth Taylor - The Blush
Her sharp eye watches men and women go about their everyday lives and explores the mysteries of the human heart. In the short stories, first published in 1958, we see how well Elizabeth Taylor describes hidden depths of feeling and personality with a few carefully chosen words.

1. Rachel 2. Dean 3. Norman 4. Gina 5. Melanie 6. None

6. Raymond Chandler - Pearls are a Nuisance
Three fast-moving stories written by Chandler in the 1940's, including one from the early life of that most famous American detective, Philip Marlowe. The reader is carried at speed through his world of dark streets, double-dealing and death by the writer who has been the model for so many  others.

1. Rachel 2. Dean 3. Norman 4. Gina 5. Melanie 6. None

7. Edith Templeton - The Surprise of Cremona
This unusual travel book, written over forty years ago, is filled with descriptions of people and places in Italy. It is both extremely well-written and full of fascinating pieces of information. A good choice for those planning to visit the country for the first time. It is also extremely funny.

1. Rachel 2. Dean 3. Norman 4. Gina 5. Melanie 6. None

 8. Margaret Atwood - The Edible Woman
Margaret is an ordinary girl. She has finished university and started her first job. But really she is just waiting to get married. All goes well at first, but there is something inside her which does not want the safe life and the dull husband she has found. A novel which manages to be funny and thoughtful at the same time.

1. Rachel 2. Dean 3. Norman 4. Gina 5. Melanie 6. None


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