Cleaning up the Thames Reading Ielts Answers and Questions

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IELTS Reading Passage: Cleaning up the Thames

Cleaning Up The Thames

The Thames Water Company claims that the once ecologically “dead” River Thames is now the cleanest metropolitan river in the world. The corporation claims that the Thames River, which flows through London and the Thames Valley before emptying into the North Sea, is cleaner currently than at any time in the last 130 years because of massive investments in better sewage treatment in those areas. A total of 115 fish species, including sea bass, flounder, salmon, smelt, and shad, have been spotted in the River Thames, according to the Fisheries Department, which is responsible for monitoring fish populations in the river. A porpoise was recently seen playing in the water of a river close to downtown London.

However, this was not always the case. The river had already died in the 1950s due to sewage overflows and industrial waste. Lacking sufficient oxygen, it became toxic to marine life. You would have needed to have your stomach pumped if you had fallen into the Thames prior to the early 1970s. In the ’60s, a cleanup effort was underway. Several parliamentary committees and royal commissions were established, and gradually laws were enacted making it the responsibility of polluting establishments and corporations to dispose of garbage in an environmentally sound manner. The Greater London Council (GLC) expanded the city’s sewage treatment facilities in 1964, and the project was finished in 1974.

Nevertheless, the cleanup of the Thames continues. It’s ongoing, and it involves a wide variety of government agencies and non-governmental stakeholder groups, each of which is responsible for a vital part of the project. Both the urban and non-urban London boroughs that border the river’s course have vested interests in maintaining the river’s pristine condition. If individuals’ personal motivations aren’t enough of a “carrot,” the government’s coercive tools should be. Each municipality must “develop a community strategy for promoting or strengthening the economic, social, and environmental well-being of their area,” according to the Local Government Act of 2000. This necessitates a long-term plan for the river’s growth and maintenance if it runs through your neighborhood.

Extra legislation has been recommended to enhance and maintain the river’s viability. The Local Government Act, the London Acts, and the law that established the position of mayor of London all contain provisions safeguarding the River Thames, either individually or as part of a more comprehensive environmental clause. Industrial, public health, and environmental protection requirements are just the tip of the iceberg. This has led to a plethora of organizations with some level of responsibility for keeping the Thames clean and safe for the public to enjoy. For instance, Transport for London, the city’s transportation authority, has a hand in policing the river and its users. They now have the duty of regulating waste products and trash from boats on the Thames. Officers aboard government ships perform these checks on a regular basis through random visits. A further case in point is the recent mandate for Thames Water (TW) to cut down on the quantity of the trash that ends up in the tidal river and its tributaries. “This project will expand on our investment which has greatly improved the water quality of the river,” Dr. Peter Spillett, TW’s environment and quality manager stated.

Litter, which should be thrown away and not dumped into the Thames, is an eyesore and a disgrace to London. Each year, thousands of tonnes of trash enter the river as a result of improper garbage storage, littering from passing vessels, and trash from the streets that are either blown or washed into the waterway. Rivers operate as a sink for trash because it becomes too heavy to be blown away once it touches the water. Thames Water plans to use a new gadget to collect more trash that is already floating down the river, despite the fact that the Port of London already collects up to 3,000 tonnes of solid waste from the tideway annually. It’s essentially just a big cage floating on the water that may be used to collect trash as it floats by. This gadget, which will be moored offshore from the Royal Naval College in Greenwich, south-east London, is designed to collect up to 20 tonnes of floating trash annually. This garbage poses a serious threat to marine life if it ends up in the ocean. The TW is currently soliciting funding from businesses and organizations in order to install additional Rubbish Munchers (aka “cages”) along the Thames.

British Waterways, the Port of London Authority, the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Commission, Thames Water, and numerous academic departments and national and local environmental organizations were all previously responsible for monitoring the cleanliness of the River Thames. Someone would always cry foul and demand answers if the local government, an individual polluter, or any of the many public and private sector agencies responsible for keeping the River Thames in pristine condition failed to do their part. There is now a centralized unit within the Environment Agency responsible for Thames monitoring, while everyone will still have a role to play. It is envisaged that stricter regulation and enforcement will result from this consolidation of responsibility.

[Source: US Water News 2000]

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Cleaning up the Thames IELTS Reading Questions

Questions 1-6

The following are a few of the steps that have been made to improve the cleanliness of the Thames River.

The author lists these activities as examples of those carried out by River Thames-related organizations.

Find the organization that is responsible for each task. Fill out boxes 1-6 with the proper letters (A-G).

Actions to clean up the river Thames: Keeping an eye on the cleanliness of the Thames River.Building a bigger sewer system.Controlling the garbage eater. Managing the flow of traffic on the Thames River.Taking in trash from the waterway. Producing plans for the benefit of the neighborhood.Catch rates are being watched closely.

1. Port of London

2. The Greater London Council

3. Transport for London

4. Local boroughs

5. The Environment Agency

6. Thames Water

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Questions 7-12

Is each of the following in line with the author’s perspective on the topic of cleaning up the Thames?
In Boxes, 7-12 write:

YES                    if the statement agrees with the passage

NO                      if the statement contradicts the passage

NOT GIVEN       if there is no information given

7. Those who contribute to pollution in the Thames must now take the lead in removing their trash.

8. In a number of spots along the Thames, trash eaters have recently been installed.

9. As compared to 1900, the Thames is far cleaner now.

10. As a means of maintaining order and compliance with its rules, Transport for London has begun using a specialized river police unit.

11. Cleanup efforts along the Thames are now shared amongst all of London’s boroughs.

12. Now is a safe time to go swimming in the Thames; there are no longer any risks involved.

Want to excel in identifying the writer’s views and claims? Click here to explore our in-depth guide on how to accurately determine Yes, No, or Not Given in the IELTS Reading section.

Questions 13-14

Choose the correct letter, a, b, c, or d.

13. How many tonnes of solid waste does the Port of London collect annually?

a. 2000

b. 1500

c. 3000

d. 4500

14. Expansion of the city’s sewage treatment facilities regulated by The Greater London Council (GLC) finished in the year?

a. 1958

b. 1974

c. 1964

d. 1976

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Cleaning up the Thames Reading Answers 

1. E

2. B

3. D

4. F

5. A

6. C

7. No

8. No

9. Yes

10. Yes

11. Yes

12. Not Given

13. c

14. b


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