37. Reading Skills Comprehension: Beautiful Ecosystem

Beautiful Ecosystem

Read the passages given below and answer the questions that follow them:                             

Our beautiful ecosystem is being systematically damaged by industrial pollution channelled into rivers like the Ganga and the Yamuna, nuclear wastes from atomic plants routed into the world’s oceans, and poisonous gases such as carbon dioxide mixed with the ozonosphere. Besides, tropical rainforests and green pastures are disappearing under the pressure of a proliferating population. Dams are being built over the rivers like the Narmada to change nature’s well-balanced surface equations between flora and fauna, and sloping mountainous terrain is being converted into mini oceans to supply electricity to the ever-starving industrial stomach of our age. Elephants, tigers, the wild rhinos of South Africa and many other forest creatures have become endangered species.

Consumerism has created a garbage glut in the world. Consumers in industrialised countries throw out staggering amounts of refuse like cartons, butts of cigarettes, polythene bags and plastic containers which mix with the waters of rivers and oceans and fertile crop-yielding soil of the earth. It is estimated that each consumer throws out nearly 1.5 kilograms of refuse each day, and most of it pollutes the water he drinks and the air he breathes. Americans alone toss out 160 million tonnes each year, which is enough to cover a thousand acres of land with mountains of garbage.

 On the land mass, eco destroying monsters are deforestation, dams constructed to generate electricity and serve irrigational facilities, and soot and toxic gases, creating the greenhouse effect. Some American environmentalists like Jeremy Rifkin blame the world’s population of cattle for most of the ecological ills. These creatures whom we feed and fatten to get their meat, spoil streams and underground aquifers. Tropical rainforests are turning into pastures for these gluttonous herds. Saharan Africa, the burgeoning population of cattle is denuding arid lands of fertile vegetation. In the Netherlands, the population of pigs poses a major ecological threat. Their manure defiles water supply with excessive nitrates and acidifies local soils.

Building dams over rivers like clotting the blood of nature and stopping its pulse beat. Scientists have proved that dams and embankments cause more floods and do more harm than good. Flooding is a boon of nature. It cleanses and renews river basins, expands feeding and breeding grounds of plains, fish, birds and wildlife, and spreads fresh layers of fertile silt from which we get bumper crops. Philip Williams, President of the International Rivers Network says, “We are recognising water quality and assisting in the protection of the ecosystem.” Governments must not allow construction contractors who are largely responsible for man-made floods to plunder the timber wealth of forests.

Questions

I. Answer briefly:

1. How is our beautiful ecosystem being systematically damaged? Give two examples.

2. How are the balanced equations between fauna and flora being constantly damaged and destroyed? Do you approve it?

3. How has consumerism created a garbage glut in the world?

4. How do building darns over rivers cause man-made floods?

II.Vocabulary:

1. Choose the word from the options which means ‘threatened’:

(a) endangered              (b) protected                  (c) proliferating             (d) growing

2. Choose the correct antonym of the phrase ‘shortage of supply’ from those given below:

(a) glut                         (b) waste                          (c) extra                          (d) surplus

3. The correct meaning of the word ‘grasslands’ given in the passage is:

 (a) desert                  (b) pastures                     (c) alluvial                           (d) rocky

4. The verb form of ‘pressure’ is:

 (a) pressing           (b) pressurisation            (c) pressurise                     (d) pressurizing

 Answers

I.1. Our beautiful ecosystem is being systematically damaged by channelling the industrial pollution into rivers and nuclear wastes from atomic plants routed into the oceans. Eg: Polluting of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna by industrial pollution and poisonous gases with the ozonosphere.

2. The disappearance of tropical rainforests under the pressure of the growing population, building dams over rivers and converting sloping mountainous terrain into mini oceans to create electricity have damaged the balance of flora and fauna. I totally disapprove of such activities.

3. Consumerism has created a garbage glut in industrialized nations. Each consumer throws out nearly 1.5 kg of refuse each day in rivers and oceans. Americans alone throw 160 million tonnes of garbage each year.

4. Building dams over rivers are like clotting the blood of nature and stopping its pulse beat. Natural flooding is a boon but dams and embankments cause man-made floods which endanger the eco-systems.

II.1. (a) endangered

2. (a) glut

3. (c) pastures

4. (d) pressurise

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