Since ancient times Nature has served Man, being the source
of his life. For thousands of years people lived in harmony
with environment and it seemed to them that natural riches
were unlimited. But with the development of civilization man's
interference in nature began to increase.
Large cities with thousands of smoky industrial enterprises
appear all over the world today. The by-products of their
activity pollute the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land
we grow grain and vegetables on.
Every year world industry pollutes the atmosphere with
about 1000 million tons of dust and other harmful substances.
Many cities suffer from smog. Vast forests are cut and burn
in fire. Their disappearance upsets the oxygen balance. As a
result some rare species of animals, birds, fish and plants
disappear forever, a number of rivers and lakes dry up.
The pollution of air and the world's ocean, destruction of
the ozone layer is the result of man's careless interaction with
nature, a sign of the ecological crises.
The most horrible ecological disaster befell Ukraine and its
people after the Chernobyl tragedy in April 1986. About 18
percent of the territory of Byelarus were also polluted with
radioactive substances. A great damage has been done to the
agriculture, forests and people's health. The consequences of
this explosion at the atomic power-station are tragic for the
Ukrainian, Byelarussian and other nations.
Environmental protection is of a universal concern. That
is v/hy serious measures to create a system of ecological security
should be taken.
Some progress has been already made in this direction. As
many as 159 countries — members of the UNO — have set up
environmental protection agencies. Numerous conferences have
been held by these agencies to discuss problems facing
ecologically poor regions including the Aral Sea, the South
Urals, Kuzbass, Donbass, Semipalatinsk and Chernobyl. An
international environmental research centre has been set up
on Lake Baikal. The international organisation Greenpeace is
also doing much to preserve the environment.
But these are only the initial steps and they must be carried
onward to protect nature, to save life on the planet not only
for the sake of the present but also for the future generations.
1. How did people live for thousands of years?
2. What cities appear all over the world today?
3. What pollutes the air we breathe?
4. What is the result of the pollution the atmosphere?
5. Why is environmental protection of a universal
6. What are the initial steps in this direction?