- Parent Category: Upper-Intermediate News Lessons
- Category: Environment Lesons
- Written by Chris Cotter
Sales of bottled water have quadrupled in the past twenty years. In just the US, sales accounted for $11.7 billion in 2007, which was the year of record sales. More and more people make health-conscious decisions to buy water instead of soda, sugary juices, and caffeinated drinks. However, one liter of bottled water produces as much as half a pound of greenhouse gases once the plastic is produced and the product shipped halfway around the world. With all the water consumed in the US, you could power 250,000 homes for a year. It's a drain on and an unnecessary use of resources.
Bottled water can be useful, though. For example, it provides a healthy alternative at large events because people will need to buy something to drink. In areas without access to clean water sources, bottled water is beneficial. Yet too many people reach for bottled water instead of tap water at home. Both bottled water and tap water are equally healthy, and tap water costs a lot less. In addition, most people would find it difficult to notice any difference between the two. In taste tests at Ithaca College in New York, tap water beat out bottled water four out of five times.
Many people recycle the plastic bottles, which of course helps the environment. But too many plastic bottles still end up in landfills - in the US, 3900 million pounds (1770 million kilograms). Many states in the US don't redeem plastic, which worsens the problem. More importantly, though, people should strive to reduce their use of resources, reuse resources whenever possible, and lastly recycle resources. All those empty water bottles simply don't allow that.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- Tap water is better than bottled water.
- There is a big difference in taste among the varieties of bottled water.
- I drink at least five bottles of water every day.
- Bottled water is a waste of resources.
- I recycle the plastic from bottled water.
Fragments: Remember how the fragments were used, and complete the sentence from today's article.
- More and more people make health-conscious decisions to buy water...
- With all the water consumed in the US, you could...
- Yet too many people reach for...
- In addition, most people would find it difficult to...
- Many states in the US don't redeem plastic...
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- How concerned are you with plastic bottles and their use of resources? Why?.
- Will this article cause you to stop buying bottled water? Why/not?
- What problem causes the greatest damage to the environment? Why do you think so?
- If we continue to use resources and pollute, what will the world be like in fifty years? Please explain.
- Were you surprised by how much Americans pollute? Why/not? How does your country compare
Google Search: Type "plastic bottles" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.