The Scottish Highlands have some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.Until now, Scotland has escaped much of the pollution which affects Western Europe. But it may not escape for much longer.
The problem is acid rain.
Cars and power stations that burn coal cause acid rain. It isn’t always rain; sometimes it’s a mist which falls on trees, buildings and the ground. And it is increasing.
In parts of Western Europe the problem is serious. Experts think that over half of the forests in West Germany are dying. Acid rain has damaged over forty per cent of Dutch forests, and poisoned 18,000 Swedish lakes.
Until recently, the wind carried away most of Britain’s acid rain, usually towards Scandinavia. The British Government was not particularly interested in a form of pollution which came from Britain but which only seemed to affect other countries. But there’s so much acid rain now that it falls on Britain.
In 1974, during a storm over Pitlochry, the rain contained so much acid that it was like vinegar. On 20th February 1984, black snow fell at Aviemore in the Cairngorm Mountains. Local people say it happens often. In Edinburgh and Glasgow some of the older buildings are very badly damaged.
And the situation is unlikely to get better. As the trees disappear from mountain slopes, avalanches will probably increase. The chemicals in acid rain are likely to replace the oxygen in lakes and rivers. The fish are unlikely to live, because the acid in the water will certainly kill their young and their food supplies, such as water insects. Birds and animals will probably disappear when they no longer have anything to feed on.
The consequences are economic as well. Scotland may lose its tourist industry. The tourists certainly won’t come to rivers which have lost their salmon and trout, or to scenery which has lost its beauty. And without the money the tourists bring, the Highlanders might have to go elsewhere to find work.
Unless the British Government does something soon, acid rain will change the face of the Scottish countryside – and the lives of the people who live there.
● 1. The acid rain problem is unlikely to get worse.
2. Black snow is likely to become more common.
3. Highland forests won’t die.
4. The fish will certainly die.
5. Acid in the water might kill food supplies.
6. The birds will probably disappear.
7. Scotland has lost its tourist industry.
8. Tourists will certainly stay away if the countryside is destroyed.
Model: 1 False. The acid rain problem is unlikely to get better.
…will certainly = …is/are certain to …probably won’t = is/are unlikely to
…will probably = …is/are likely to …certainly won’t
…will possibly = …may/might/could
2.20. Complete these sentences to make true statements about the effects of pollution.
1. The acid rain problem is …….. to get better.
2. Black snow will …….. become more common.
3. Highland forests …….. probably die.
4. The fish probably …….. be able to live in the rivers.
5. Acid in the water is …….. to kill food supplies.
6. The birds are …….. to disappear.
7. Scotland will …….. lose its tourist industry.
8. Tourists …….. won’t come if the countryside is destroyed.
2.21. Read for specific information. Describe the consequences of pollution in Scotland.
power stations continue to burn coal,
acid rain falls on forests,
the trees disappear,
acid rain falls on lakes and rivers,
the oxygen is replaced by chemicals,
there are no water insects,
the fish disappear,
the government does nothing,
Model:If power stations continue to burn coal, acid rain will increase.
2.22. Now you are going to read an interview at a radio studio. An interviewer (I) is talking to Karen Baker (K), a conservationist. Pay attention to the phrases in bold.