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The Air We Breathe

     Air pollution has probably been with us since man discovered fire. But in those days, the smoke and gases rose in the air and were carried away by the wind. Air pollution usually did not begin to be a problem until men began living in the towns and cities, and had many fires burning at the same time within a small area. For thousands of years, however, in the Middle East, farmers have burned bushes and grass, causing muck local pollution.

     About 700 years ago-in 1283-King Edward I of England made the first law that included an attempt to control smoke. Rules were established limiting the use of fire. Some years after this, in 1306, the English government made another pollution law, declaring that no person might burn coal during a meeting of Parliament.

     Until the 16th century, people who were lucky enough to own silver spoons and other silver objects did not have to shine them often. But as the use of coal and oil began to increase, a black covering caused by sulfur gasses began to form on silver plates, pots, and other objects.

     The first book eve written about air pollution was published in 1661. This book, written by John Evelyn, contained the first list of scientific solutions to the air pollution problem. Evelyn described in detail the smog over London. He warned that the cause of the smog was the burning of so much coal in the factories that were being built all around the city. He was probably the first man to study pollution control.

     In Evelyn’s time, the people of the United States, compared with those of England, were having little trouble with their air. They enjoyed gentle winds that carried away the smoke from their fires. At that time, people lived in small towns or on farms surrounded by huge open spaces. Even New York City (New Amsterdam, when Evelyn’s book appeared) had only about 1,000 people. But about 200 years later, in 1873, some magazine writers in the United States began to warn about the soot and dirt that was polluting the air of the cities. And at that time, the country’s population was about one-fifth of what it is today.

     Today, the air pollution problem is to be found in all parts of the world. Tokyo has had many serious smog warnings for the last several years. Now among the people of that city there are many cases of lung diseases caused by dirty air.

     Near Athens, Greece, every Monday morning when the factories start productions the smog begins to increase. It spreads over the lower parts of town and finally reaches the Parthenon, the greatest ancient temple of the Acropolis. For more than 2,000 years, parts of the Parthenon were unchanged. We know this because in 1802 exact copies of some of the art objects were made. In 1965 those copies were compared with the objects as they are now. Some of the old art treasures have been damaged so much by air pollution that it is almost impossible to recognize them.

     The Ruhr Valley of West Germany is a region of large factories. Warning signs can now be seen telling automobile drivers that if air pollution reaches an unsafe level they must leave the road. In this region, there is so much soot in the air that persons who wear white shirts must change them sometimes as often as three times a day.

     In France, there is a law that requires automobile exhaust to be returned through the engine to burn up the gasoline completely.

     Padua, Italy, is losing some of its art treasures because of pollution. Some walls painted by the artist Giotto in the 14th century are being destroyed. Air pollution in Florence is destroying some of its old bridges and buildings.

     What will happen in the future? One American scientist tells us that the air from across the Pacific Ocean is clean when it arrives at the west coast of the United States. It picks up pollution in the western states, drops some of it when it passes over the Rocky Mountains, and then collects more and more as it travels over the country on its way toward the east coast.

     But if the people in every big city in Asia owned as many automobiles as the people in Los Angeles do-almost one for every adult, then, what would happen? The air coming across the Pacific Ocean would be polluted before it arrived at the coast of the United States. Gradually, the world would be covered with smog and soot particles. Man would die-unable to live because of all the pollution in the air. Equally frightening pictures could be imagined concerning water and noise pollution.

     What is the answer? How can we solve this worldwide problem? At best, in some places we are just able to control pollution as it occurs. At worst, in some places the land is bare and people are dying. The final solutions, if they are found at all and in time, must be found by the young people now growing up.

     The work in pollution control must be made more rewarding. Money is now being spent on research programs to aid in the training of people to work for pollution control. In the United States, the government is offering training to university students who want to do this kind of work. Let us hope that we are not too late and that young people will become interested in preparing for this very important work.

(原載於 三民書局印行 民國七十六年二月五版)

 

沒錯! 是篇24年前的文章現在翻打過貼在部落格上, 因為女眷怕黑、怕冷、怕沒電, 所以蓋了很多的發電廠,因為女眷怕塞車、怕機械危險, 所以迅速發展大眾運輸, 恰好也需要電。 其實, 給孩子籃球, 他會學習如何把球打好、如何投準, 可是迅速發展的眾多電廠裡, 汙染、爆炸、 廢料、廢水, 真的是我們好好認真學, 就可以完善管理控制且絕對利他的嗎?

 

當年一起閱讀此文的同學

現在多半為人父母 有兒有女了

我們不像上一代給孩子做不完的家事

帶不完的來臨托的孩子們與農忙

孩子也不會同我們當年一樣肌肉痠痛抽搐到難以入睡

但孩子們看不到我們曾看過的山水與清新空氣

腳下踩的土地

還混雜我們叫不出名子的物質了

我的美麗新世界啊

與其帶走那麼多無辜的生命

拿無知的我來換應該也讓我賺很大

 

台長: WitchVera
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楊風
目前的生態浩劫
恐怕不只是排煙的問題
2011-03-24 10:54:43
版主回應
是阿~~說來也是我們這代不爭氣啊~~

20幾年前就讀了空氣/水源/環境/工業/核能...汙染, 卻仍不見對大自然的改善有立竿見影之效果, 不爭氣啊!
2011-03-27 11:58:00
雷爸
謝謝妳的分享,真好!
2011-03-28 10:51:01
版主回應
還蒙雷爸錯愛, 常來早訪添人氣呢! 這天...也漸漸回溫囉~~ 真好!
2011-03-29 16:54:11
旅人
要譯文才看得懂啊

夜安安
2011-03-29 02:22:07
版主回應
喔喔! 我當是這篇文章超過20年, 應當沒有興趣的多些呢! 況且裡面的字彙大多不難, 所以先前沒考慮到這層! 待我這陣子每天抽些時間來做蛤~~ 謝謝您不時地來訪與留言喔!
2011-03-29 16:56:31
是 (若未登入"個人新聞台帳號"則看不到回覆唷!)
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