You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Cars damage the environment and their use is increasing. Why? How can this be controlled?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
The growing use of cars certainly contributes to environmental degradation. While some reasons can be identified to explain increasing car use, there are policies which could be adopted to tackle this issue.
Financial reasons and lifestyle changes have led to a growth in car ownership and the more frequent use of cars. In terms of money, cars are now more affordable, and in developed countries two or more members of a household are likely to have their own car. From the perspective of lifestyle, people drive their cars more than in the past for work, shopping, leisure and taking children to and from school. For example, in US cities, shopping malls and leisure complexes are usually sited outside urban centres and they provide large parking areas to attract customers. This encourages dependence on cars.
However, measures can be taken to provide a solution to the problem. Firstly, it must be a government priority to raise taxes on fuel and introduce restrictions on cars entering city centres, like the congestion charge in London. Other cities, such as Athens in Greece, impose an official ban on cars entering the city on specified days of the week. Secondly, resources should be allocated to upgrade and expand public transport provision, and to provide public subsidies for people to have free bus or train passes. Finally, in order to cut down on emissions and to reduce our carbon footprint, the production of electric cars must be encouraged, and corporations like Volkswagen are already leading the way in this field.
In conclusion, the reasons behind the growth in car use are well-known, but there are steps which can be implemented effectively to combat this trend and help protect the environment.
Vocabulary from the environment:
environmental degradation: the process or fact of the environment becoming worse
Example: Africa is a continent in which environmental degradation is evident in the spread of deserts and the extinction of animal species.
to cut down on emissions: to reduce the amount of gases sent out into the air
Example: People must be made aware of the need to cut down on emissions from their cars if we are to reduce air pollution.
carbon footprint: a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide that is produced by the daily activities of a company or person
Example: By providing subsidies, governments should encourage companies to reduce their carbon footprint through energy efficiency or other ‘green measures’.
Vocabulary from government:
to adopt policies: to start to use particular policies
Example: In order to deal with traffic congestion, the government must adopt policies to restrict the use of private cars.
to be a government priority: something which is so important that the government should deal with it first.
Example: In developing countries, spending on health and education should be top government priorities.
to raise taxes on: to increase the amount of tax on something
Example: Governments should raise taxes on cigarettes to persuade more people to give up smoking.
to introduce restrictions on: to limit what people can do or what can happen
Example: The government must introduce restrictions on smoking in public places.
to impose an official ban on: to say or declare that something is not allowed
Example: Governments ought to impose an official ban on the use of mobile phones on public transport.
to allocate resources to: to make money and materials available to do something
Example: If governments allocate more resources to improving public transport, this will reduce the problem of traffic congestion in cities.
to provide public subsidies for: to give government money to reduce the costs of services or to produce goods in order to keep the price low
Example: In order to promote agriculture that is environmentally-friendly, the government should provide public subsidies for organic farmers.
Vocabulary from transportation:
congestion charge: an amount of money that people have to pay for driving their cars into the centre of some cities, as a way of stopping the city centre from becoming too full of traffic.
Example: More cities should follow the example of London and introduce a congestion charge in order to ease traffic flow in the city centre.
to upgrade and expand public transport provision: to improve bus and train services and to make these services more available.
Example: One way to reduce traffic on the roads is to upgrade and expand public transport provision.
free bus/train passes: documents which allow you to travel free on buses or trains
Example: Issuing free bus and train passes to children and the elderly would encourage more people to use public transport.
affordable [adjective]: cheap enough so that people can pay for it or buy it
Example: The prices of new and used cars have fallen, and now they are more affordable than in the past.
leisure complex [noun]: a building where people can go to do sports or do other activities in their free time
Example: There are two leisure complexes in my town, but only one of them has a cinema as well as a gym.
to site [verb]: to build something in a particular place
Example: The museum is sited next to the main railway station
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