Welcome! This site is for students to practice their English and keep up to date with environmental issues.

You can find a mixture of reading, crosswords, videos and short English lessons: these will normally be vocabulary, but I may also treat you to some grammar!

There are now over 260 lessons on this blog. Look through the Blog archive, Post labels and Popular Posts to find what you want.

If you want to print a lesson, click on the lesson title and then look for the Print Friendly icon.

''Let nature be your teacher''
William Wordsworth, poet, 1770-1850

''Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift''
Albert Einstein, physicist, 1879-1955

''... to find the word, or words, by which [an] idea may be most fitly and aptly expressed''
P.M. Roget, lexicographer, 1779-1869

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Washed up whale 'most contaminated' on record

Level: intermediate B1

Please click the 'Print Friendly' icon at the bottom of the page if you want to print this exercise.

A dead killer whale (Orcinus orca) found on the Scottish coast had 20 times the expected levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in her system.

Watch this short (one-minute) BBC video about her and then answer the following questions:

1) What do high levels of PCBs do?
2) What were PCBs used for?
3) When were they banned?
4) What does 'leach' mean?
5) What is bioaccumulation?

You can read more about this story here.

Answers below!

1) They weaken an animals immune system, affect the brain and stop whales from reproducing.
2) Everything, from plastics to electrical goods and cement.?
3) From the 1970s
4) Leach: (with reference to a soluble chemical or mineral) drain away from soil, ash, or similar material by the action of percolating liquid, especially rainwater. (Oxford Dictionaries)
5) Bioaccumulate: (of a substance) become more concentrated inside the bodies of living things (Oxford Dictionaries)

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