Part I Writing (30 minutes)
Directions: For this part, you are allowed 30 minutes to write a composition on the topic: Precious Water. You should write at least 150 words following the outline given below:
Part II Reading Comprehension (Skimming and Scanning) (15 minutes)
Directions: In this part, you will have 15 minutes to go over the passage quickly and answer the questions on Answer Sheet 1. For questions 1-7, choose the best answer from the four choices marked A),B),C) and D). For question 8-10, complete the sentences with the information given in the passage.
Pollution: A Life and Death Issue
One of the main themes of Planet under Pressure is the way many of the Earth's environmental crises reinforce one another. Pollution is an obvious example-we do not have the option of growing food, or finding enough water, on a squeaky-clean planet, but on one increasingly tarnished and trashed by the way we have used it so far.
Cutting waste and clearing up pollution cost money. Yet time and again it is the quest for wealth that generates much of the mess is the first place. Living in a way that is less damaging to the Earth is not easy, but it is vital, because pollution is pervasive and often life-threatening.
Air: the World Health Organization (WHO) says three million people are killed worldwide by outdoor air pollution annually from vehicles and industrial emissions, and 1.6 million indoors through using solid fuel. Most are in poor countries.
Water: diseases carried in water are responsible for 80% of illnesses and deaths in developing countries, killing a child every eight seconds. Each year 2.1 million people die from diarrhoeal (痢疾的) diseases associated with poor water.
Soil: contaminated land is a problem in industrialized countries, where former factories and power stations can leave waste like heavy metals in the soil. It can also occur in developing countries, sometimes used for dumping pesticides. Agriculture can pollute land with pesticides, nitrate-rich fertilizers and slurry from livestock. And when the contamination reaches rivers it damages life there, and can even create dead zones off the coast, as in the Gulf of Mexico.
Chemicals are a frequent pollutant. When we think of chemical contamination it is often images of events like Bhopal that come to mind. But the problem is widespread. One study says 7～20% of cancers are attributable to poor air and pollution in homes and workplaces. The WHO, concerned about chemicals that persist and build up in the body, especially in the young, says we may "be conducting a large-scale experiment with children's health".
Some man-made chemicals, endocrine (内分泌) disruptors like phthalates (酞酸盐) and nonylphenol-a breakdown product of spermicides (杀精子剂), cosmetics and detergents-are blamed for causing changes in the genitals of some animals. Affected species include polar bears-so not even the Arctic is immune. And the chemicals climb the food chain, from fish to mammals, and to us.
About 70,000 chemicals are on the market, with around 1,500 new ones appearing annually. At least 30,000 are thought never to have been comprehensively tested for their possible risks to people.
At first glance, the plastic buckets stacked in the corner of the environmental NGO office look like any others. But the containers are an unlikely weapon in one poor community's fight against oil companies which they say are responsible for widespread ill-health caused by years of pollution. The vessels are used by a network of local volunteers, known as the Bucket Brigade, to gather air samples in neighborhoods bordering oil refineries, as part of a campaign to monitor and document air pollution which they believe is coming from the plants.
In South Africa, as in many developing and newly industrialized countries, legislation on air pollution has failed to keep pace with mushrooming industries. So local residents, like many in poor communities around the globe, have faced the problem of investigating their claim that industries on their doorsteps are making them sick.
But the snag is that modern society demands many of them, and some are essential for survival. So while we invoke the precautionary principle, which always recommends erring on the side of caution, we have to recognize there will be trade-offs to be made.
The pesticide DDT does great damage to wildlife and can affect the human nervous system, but can also be effective against malaria (疟疾). Where does the priority lie?
The industrialized world has not yet cleaned up the mess it created, but it is reaping the benefits of the pollution it has caused. It can hardly tell the developing countries that they have no right to follow suit.
Another complication in tackling pollution is that it does not respect political frontiers. There is a U.N. convention on trans-boundary air pollution, but that cannot cover every problem that can arise between neighbors, or between states which do not share a border. Perhaps the best example is climate change-the countries of the world share one atmosphere, and what one does can affect everyone.
For One and All.
One of the principles that are supposed to apply here is simple-the polluter pays. Sometimes it is obvious who is to blame and who must pay the price, but it is not always straightforward to work out just who is the polluter, or whether the rest of us would be happy to pay the price of stopping the pollution.
One way of cleaning up after ourselves would be to throw less away, designing products to be recycled or even just to last longer.
Previous generations worked on the assumption that discarding our waste was a proper way to get rid of it, so we used to dump nuclear materials and other potential hazards at sea, confident they would be dispersed in the depths.
We now think that is too risky because, as one author wrote, "there's no such place as 'away', and there's no such person as the 'other'."
Despite recent improvements, however, the health problems are still there. A 2002 medical study, carried out by Durban's Nelson Mandela School of Medicine and a U.S. university, found that an abnormally high 52% of students and teachers at a primary school bordering the Engen plant suffered from asthma (哮喘). It found that increases in air pollution tended to aggravate asthma symptoms in children.
The petrol producers do not dispute the findings but argue that researchers were unable to establish a causal link between air pollution and the high prevalence of asthma among the school population.
For the community, the next step is to take legal action. But, according to internationally recognized environmentalist Bobby Peek, targeting the companies would be difficult as it would be near-impossible to prove that illnesses suffered were caused by pollution coming from a particular plant.
Mr. Peek, who grew up beneath Engen's stacks, says the activists are now considering taking action against the authorities. "We are now looking at suing the government on constitutional grounds, for failing to ensure our right to protection from a harmful environment as stipulated in the constitution," he said.
A new batch (批) of environmental laws, the National Air Quality Management Act, has just been passed by the South African parliament to replace outdated 1965 legislation with tighter controls and tougher sanctions.
Martinus van Schalkwyk, the minister of environmental affairs and tourism, visited the south Durban basin earlier this year and said there were measures in place to improve the situation. "I share the anger and frustration of this community. It is long overdue," he told the South African Broadcasting Corporation.
The local authorities have also established a "Multi-Point Plan" for the area. They say it is a powerful model for tackling pollution and points to a 40% reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions in recent years.
1. According to World Health Organization, how many people are killed by outdoor air pollution?
[A] 3 million
[B] 2.1 million
[C] 1.6 million
[D] 3.2 million
2. Land can be polluted by ________ from agriculture.
[A] heavy metals
[B] pesticides and nitrate-poor fertilizers
[C] slurry from livestock
3. What kind of animal affected by man-made chemicals is not referred in the passage?
[A] Polar bears.
4. What do local residents claim for?
[A] They are sick because of years of pollution.
[B] They are sick because of industries on their doorsteps.
[C] They are sick because of pesticides from agriculture.
[D] They are sick because of air pollution.
5. The pesticide DDT can be effective against ________.
[D] human nervous system
6. There is a U.N. convention that can cover ________.
[A] problem between neighbors
[B] problem between states which do not share a border
[C] problems on air pollution
[D] trans-boundary air pollution
7. What is not said to be a way of cleaning up after ourselves?
[A] Throw less away.
[B] Design recycled products.
[C] Don't use it again.
[D] Last longer.
8. It found that increases in air pollution tended to ________________________.
9. According to Bobby Peek, targeting the companies would be difficult as it would be near-impossible to prove that illnesses suffered were caused by ________________________.
10. Martinus van Schalkwyk, the minister of environmental affairs and tourism, visited the south Durban basin earlier this year and said there were measures in place to ________________________.