Plastic pollution will weigh 1.3 billion tonnes by 2040 | Reading Comprehension

An estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of plastic is destined for our environment – both on land and in the ocean – by 2040, unless worldwide action is taken. That’s according to a global model of the scale of the plastic problem over the next 20 years.

Dr Costas Velis from the University of Leeds said the number was “staggering” but that we had “the technology and the opportunity to stem the tide“. The report is published in the journal Science.

“This is the first comprehensive assessment of what the picture could be in 20 years’ time,” Dr Velis explained. “It’s difficult to picture an amount that large, but if you could imagine laying out all that plastic across a flat surface, it would cover the area of the UK 1.5 times.

“It’s complex [to calculate] because plastic is everywhere and, in every part of the world, it’s different in terms of how it’s used and dealt with.”

To turn this complex problem into numbers, the researchers tracked the production, use and disposal of plastic around the world. The team then created a model to forecast future plastic pollution. What they called a “business as usual” scenario – based on the current trend of increasing plastic production and no significant change in the amount of reuse and recycling – produced the 1.3 billion tonne estimate.

By adjusting their model, the researchers were able to project how much different interventions would affect that number; they tweaked their model to increase recycling, reduce production and replace plastic with other available materials.

Winnie Lau from the US-based Pew Charitable Trusts, which funded the research, told BBC News that it was vital to put in place every possible solution. “If we do that,” she said, “we can reduce the amount of plastic that goes into the ocean – by 2040 – by 80%.”

Steps the researchers called for included:

  • reducing growth in plastic production and consumption
  • substituting plastic with paper and compostable materials
  • designing products and packaging for recycling
  • expanding waste collection rates in middle/low-income countries and supporting the “informal collection” sector
  • building facilities to dispose of the 23% of plastic that cannot be recycled economically, as a transitional measure
  • reduce plastic waste exports

But even if “all feasible action” was taken, Dr Velis explained, the model showed there would be 710 million extra tonnes of plastic waste in the environment in the next two decades.

There is no “silver bullet solution”, for the plastic problem. But an often overlooked issue that this study highlighted was the fact that an estimated 2 billion people in the Global South have no access to proper waste management. “They have to just get rid of all their rubbish, so they have no choice but to burn or dump it,” said Dr Velis.


Also, despite playing a major role in reducing global plastic waste, the roughly 11 million waste pickers – people who collect and sell reusable materials in low-income countries – often don’t have basic employment rights and safe working conditions.

Dr Velis said: “Waste pickers are the unsung heroes of recycling – without them the mass of plastic entering the aquatic environment would be considerably greater.” He added that policies to support them and make their work safer were a vital part of solving this problem.

Dr Ian Kane, from the University of Manchester, who was recently part of a team that calculated the amount of micro-plastic in the seabed, described the picture the researchers had painted as “horrifying”.

“The authors are clear that there are large uncertainties in the data and analysis but regardless of the exact figures, the increasing rate of plastic production to meet increasing global demand has pretty dire consequences for the environment,” he told BBC News.

Prof Jamie Woodward, also from the University of Manchester, pointed out the irony in this scenario being laid out during the pandemic.

“Plastic has kept many frontline workers safe through this,” he said. “But PPE waste over the next decade could be horrendous.

“There are parallels with the climate change problem in that business as usual will be disastrous. We need to radically change our behaviour.”



Thanks for reading! Now try the quizzes below to test your knowledge of the words in bold and the article.

Plastic Pollution | Definitions Quiz

Match the words to the correct definitions

Plastic Pollution | True or False Quiz

Choose if the statement is true or false

Adapted from

5 cose che devi sapere sull’ammissione ai college americani

#1 Ci puoi entrare. Davvero.

L’ammissione al college non è poi così competitiva come si potrebbe pensare. Meno di 100 università negli Stati Uniti sono altamente selettive, il che significa che accettano meno del 25 percento dei candidati. Quasi 500 college con percorsi quadriennali accettano invece oltre il 75 percento dei candidati. Mentre quelli ad ammissione aperta accettano tutti o la maggior parte dei diplomati.

#2 Sei più di un punteggio nei test.

Ai college interessa maggiormente il tuo lavoro svolto al liceo. Cercano studenti che abbiano conseguito ottimi voti in corsi impegnativi. Provano anche a conoscere la tua persona guardando oltre ciò che fai nell’aula di studio. Approfitta delle opportunità come il saggio per l’ammissione e il colloquio per mostrare un quadro più completo di chi sei.

#3 Sei tu che comandi.

Questo è il tuo futuro, e sei al posto di guida. Rimani concentrato su ciò che è importante per te e su ciò che vuoi ottenere dalla tua esperienza universitaria. La pianificazione della tua vita al college a volte può sembrare travolgente, ma se prendi il comando e rimani concentrato sui tuoi obiettivi, puoi far funzionare le cose.

#4 Sei unico.

Dovresti basare la tua scelta su quanto un college si adatti o meno alle tue esigenze. Non preoccuparti di come è classificato in un elenco o di quanto sia famoso. Lo sforzo che metterai e le opportunità che saprai sfruttare una volta arrivato lì saranno più importanti del college che sceglierai. Una volta che ti sei laureato, saranno i tuoi risultati e le tue abilità a contare di più.

#5 Non sei da solo.

Famiglia, insegnanti e amici sono una grande risorsa. Discuti dei tuoi piani riguardo al college con loro e chiedi se puoi aiuto e consigli. Prendi un appuntamento con un consulente scolastico o il tuo preside per parlare del processo di candidatura, delle università adatte a te e delle varie opzioni di aiuto finanziario.


Articolo tradotto da qui.

Learn English with the News – Venice restricts numbers allowed on gondolas because tourists “have gotten fatter”

Things are changing in Venice, and it’s not what you might expect. Due to what local gondola drives claim as “fatter” tourists, the city will limit the number of passengers allowed on a single gondola for a ride along the canals. Watch the video and check out the accompanying English language exercises.

The news is a consistent source of entertainment, knowledge and discovery that never ceases to exist and always comes out with more and more material each day. Because it plays such a vital part in our lives and is so important to keep up with, it is without a doubt a piece of your everyday routine that can’t go ignored. 

Whether it is to understand the ramifications of recent legislation passed, to hear about recent events and grasp the potential consequences to your country, or simply hear about what is happening in other countries in order to compare them to what’s happening in yours, the news is certainly a staple in our lives and the most consistent way to get information.

This is why Scrambled Eggs has decided to unite two of your biggest worlds: learning English and keeping up with what is happening in the world. We hope our challenging daily exercises, composed of listening, vocabulary and comprehension exercises in English, will satisfy both of those above worlds in a satisfactory and also entertaining way.

So enough about introductions, let’s get to today’s Learn English with the News topic:

Adapted from this article.

Now that you’ve had a listen, let’s put your knowledge to the test with some of our vocabulary and comprehension exercises:

Venice restricts numbers allowed on gondolas because tourists “have gotten fatter” | Definition Match

Put the following words to the correct definitions.

Venice restricts numbers allowed on gondolas because tourists “have gotten fatter” | Fill in the Blank

Fill the empty spaces with the proper words.

Venice restricts numbers allowed on gondolas because tourists “have gotten fatter” | True or False

Indicate which sentences are true and which ones are false.


And that’s it for today’s English lesson, where you can improve your English with the news and current events. Do you have any comments or special requests for us for the next edition of Learn English with the News? Be sure to leave any feedback you have in the comments section below, as we would love to help you on your quest to learn the English language!

For other Learn English with the News segments, be sure to check out the rest of our posts:

Full Text:

“The coronavirus pandemic has placed a heavy weight on Venice’s vast tourism industry. But as it emerges from lockdown, the city is trying to ease the weight put on its gondolas. A new restriction will see the maximum capacity on the city’s famous gondolas reduced from six passengers to five. And it’s not social distancing that caused the change — it’s the high average weight of tourists at the destination.
“Over the last 10 years or so, tourists weigh more – so we are limiting the number of people on a single boat,” Andrea Balbi, the president of Venice’s Gondola Association, confirmed to CNN while explaining the rule.
The change applies to Venice’s slim boats that cruise through the small canals. The maximum occupancy in the larger “da parada” gondolas, which are mostly for taxis across the Grand Canal, has also been reduced, from 14 to 12. Balbi said more weight means the gondolas flood, making it harder for gondoliers to navigate canal traffic.
Raoul Roveratto, president of the association of substitute gondoliers — a group representing less experienced gondoliers — didn’t hesistate when speaking to La Repubblica newspaper. Roveratto said that some citizens are like bombs, and when the boat is fully loaded, it sinks and water enters,” he said.
Sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry, and this is the message the gondoliers want to give the public.”