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July 18, 2009

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Brazil Fury Over Britain’s Toxic Waste

Brazilians are furious over 1,400 tonnes of British garbage arriving at its ports. The stinking waste included toilet seats, dirty diapers, leaking batteries and used syringes. The rotting cargo arrived in 64 different containers at three Brazilian ports earlier this year. It was destined for Brazilian waste recycling companies. The recyclers were angry over the contents as they were expecting only recyclable plastic. Brazil has demanded that Britain take back its rubbish. Roberto Messias of Brazil’s environment protection agency said: "We will ask for the repatriation of this garbage….Clearly, Brazil is not the rubbish dump of the world." Messias made it clear the importing companies would receive heavy fines.


The British Embassy in Brasilia released a statement saying it was investigating the case. Officials said Britain “would not hesitate to act” if any British company had broken international laws. Both Brazil and Britain signed up to the Basel Convention on the movement of hazardous and toxic waste in 1992. The embassy said: "The UK takes a strong global lead on protection of the environment and the safeguarding of human health, and will do all it can to stamp out the illegal trade in waste.” Public anger over the issue increased when the police found thousands of dirty toys in a container with a note in Portuguese that said: “These toys should be washed before being given to poor Brazilian children.”


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. BRAZIL: Walk around the class and talk to other students about Brazil. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

fury / garbage / toilet seats / recycling companies / environment protection / fines / investigations / breaking laws / toxic waste / illegal trade / public anger / toys

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. WASTE: What are your views on waste? Complete this table. Talk with your partner(s) about what you wrote. Change again and share what you heard.

Kind of waste

Does this affect me?

How do we reduce it?

Nuclear waste

 

 

Toxic waste

 

 

Household waste

 

 

Waste of time

 

 

Waste of money

 

 

Waste of talent

 

 

4. WASTE DISPOSAL: Students A strongly believe people must pay to throw away their waste; Students B strongly believe the opposite.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. BEING FURIOUS: What makes you furious? Rate these and share your ratings with your partner: 10 = this makes me steaming mad; 1 = no problem. Change partners and share your ratings again.

  • waste
  • my country’s leader
  • drivers
  • computers
  • myself
  • my neighbouring country
  • sales assistants
  • English

6. TOXIC: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘toxic’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

Brazil is unhappy with Britain for sending harmful garbage to its ports.

T / F

b.

The rubbish arrived at 64 different ports around Brazil.

T / F

c.

Brazilian authorities have requested Britain take back its trash.

T / F

d.

Brazilian companies that imported the waste will escape punishment.

T / F

e.

Britain’s embassy in Brazil refused to comment on the matter.

T / F

f.

Neither Britain nor Brazil signed a convention regarding toxic waste.

T / F

g.

The U.K. says it takes a strong stand on the illegal trade in waste.

T / F

h.

Brazilians are angry over shipments of toys sent for Brazilian children.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

1.

furious

a.

return

2

garbage

b.

protecting

3.

destined

c.

dangerous

4.

repatriation

d.

rubbish

5.

fines

e.

issued

6.

released

f.

angry

7.

hesitate

g.

stop

8.

hazardous

h.

headed

9.

safeguarding

i.

penalties

10.

stamp out

j.

delay

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one. combination is possible):

1.

1,400 tonnes of

a.

take back its rubbish

2

It was destined for Brazilian waste

b.

and toxic waste

3.

Brazil has demanded that Britain

c.

dump of the world

4.

Brazil is not the rubbish

d.

of human health

5.

companies would receive

e.

British garbage

6.

The British Embassy in Brasilia

f.

to act

7.

Britain would not hesitate

g.

heavy fines

8.

the movement of hazardous

h.

increased

9.

the safeguarding

i.

recycling companies

10.

Public anger over the issue

j.

released a statement

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

Brazilians are furious over 1,400 tonnes of British garbage arriving at its ports. The ____________ waste included toilet seats, dirty diapers, ____________ batteries and used syringes. The rotting cargo arrived in 64 different ____________ at three Brazilian ports earlier this year. It was destined for Brazilian waste recycling companies. The recyclers were angry over the ____________ as they were expecting only recyclable plastic. Brazil has ____________ that Britain take back its rubbish. Roberto Messias of Brazil’s environment protection ____________ said: "We will ask for the repatriation of this garbage….Clearly, Brazil is not the rubbish ____________ of the world." Messias made it clear the importing companies would receive ____________ fines.

 

 

 

agency
leaking
contents
dump
stinking
heavy
containers
demanded

The British Embassy in Brasilia ____________ a statement saying it was investigating the case. Officials said Britain “would not hesitate to ____________” if any British company had ____________ international laws. Both Brazil and Britain signed up to the Basel Convention on the ____________ of hazardous and toxic waste in 1992. The embassy said: "The UK takes a strong global ____________ on protection of the environment and the safeguarding of human health, and will do all it can to stamp out the illegal ____________ in waste.” Public anger over the issue increased when the police found thousands of dirty toys in a container with a ____________ in Portuguese that said: “These toys should be washed before being given to ____________ Brazilian children.”

 

 

lead
poor
broken
released
note
trade
act
movement

LISTENING:  Listen and fill in the gaps.

Brazilians _________________ 1,400 tonnes of British garbage arriving at its ports. The stinking waste included toilet seats, dirty diapers, leaking batteries _________________. The rotting cargo arrived in 64 different containers at three Brazilian ports earlier this year. _________________ Brazilian waste recycling companies. The recyclers were angry over the contents as they were expecting only _________________. Brazil has demanded that Britain take back its rubbish. Roberto Messias of Brazil’s environment _________________ said: "We will ask for the repatriation of this garbage….Clearly, Brazil is not the rubbish dump of the world." Messias made it clear the importing companies would _________________.

The British Embassy in Brasilia ___________________ saying it was investigating the case. Officials said Britain “would _________________” if any British company had broken international laws. Both Brazil and Britain _________________ Basel Convention on the movement of hazardous and toxic waste in 1992. The embassy said: "The UK takes a _________________ on protection of the environment and the safeguarding of human health, and will do all it can to stamp out the illegal trade in waste.” Public anger over ___________________ when the police found thousands of dirty toys in a container with a note in Portuguese that said: “These toys should be washed before _________________ poor Brazilian children.”


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘toxic’ and ‘waste’.

toxic

waste

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • 1,400
  • leaking
  • 64
  • expecting
  • demanded
  • heavy
  • statement
  • act
  • signed
  • lead
  • stamp
  • increased

STUDENT WASTE SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about waste in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

WASTE DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘waste’?

c)

Are you wasteful?

d)

What do you think of British companies sending British waste to Brazil?

e)

How would you feel if Britain sent its waste to your country?

f)

Do you think this could have been an honest mistake?

g)

Is your country good at recycling?

h)

What do you do with hazardous products such as old batteries?

i)

What should the world do with its waste?

j)

What kind of fines should the importing companies receive?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

Do you think Britain will do the right thing?

c)

What’s your opinion of the British Embassy?

d)

Do you have the impression that Britain is a global leader on protecting the environment?

e)

What does your country do to protect the environment?

f)

What other illegal trades need to be stamped out?

g)

Has your country ever been angry with Britain?

h)

When was the last time you were furious and why?

i)

What do you think about the note with the toys?

j)

What questions would you like to ask Roberto Messias?

LANGUAGE

Brazilians are (1) ____ over 1,400 tonnes of British garbage arriving at its ports. The stinking waste included toilet seats, dirty diapers, leaking batteries and (2) ____ syringes. The rotting cargo arrived in 64 different containers at three Brazilian ports earlier this year. It was destined (3) ____ Brazilian waste recycling companies. The recyclers were angry (4) ____ the contents as they were expecting only recyclable plastic. Brazil has demanded that Britain (5) ____ back its rubbish. Roberto Messias of Brazil’s environment protection agency said: "We will ask for the repatriation of this garbage….Clearly, Brazil is not the rubbish dump of the world." Messias made it clear the importing companies would (6) ____ heavy fines.

The British Embassy in Brasilia released a statement saying it was (7) ____ the case. Officials said Britain “would not hesitate to (8) ____” if any British company had broken international laws. Both Brazil and Britain signed (9) ____ to the Basel Convention on the movement of hazardous and toxic waste in 1992. The embassy said: "The UK takes a (10) ____ global lead on protection of the environment and the safeguarding of human health, and will do all it can to stamp out the illegal trade in waste.” Public (11) ____ over the issue increased when the police found thousands of dirty toys in a container with a note in Portuguese that said: “These toys should be washed before being (12) ____ to poor Brazilian children.”

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

furious

(b)

fury

(c)

furry

(d)

furiously

2.

(a)

using

(b)

used

(c)

users

(d)

use

3.

(a)

to

(b)

at

(c)

for

(d)

on

4.

(a)

so

(b)

from

(c)

for

(d)

over

5.

(a)

give

(b)

have

(c)

do

(d)

take

6.

(a)

there

(b)

their

(c)

they’re

(d)

they are

7.

(a)

investigating

(b)

investigated

(c)

investigate

(d)

investigation

8.

(a)

action

(b)

act

(c)

actor

(d)

acts

9.

(a)

in

(b)

up

(c)

to

(d)

of

10.

(a)

strong

(b)

strongest

(c)

strength

(d)

strongly

11.

(a)

angry

(b)

angered

(c)

angers

(d)

anger

12.

(a)

gave

(b)

given

(c)

gives

(d)

give

WRITING: 

Write about toxic waste for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about toxic waste and how countries dispose of it. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. TOXIC WASTE: Make a poster about toxic waste. List the most common kinds. State how we should throw it away safely. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. WASTE DISPOSAL: Write a magazine article about toxic waste. Include imaginary interviews with an environmentalist who is worried about the amount of waste we produce and someone who believes waste is not their problem.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to Roberto Messias. Ask him three questions about Britain’s waste. Give him three suggestions on what he should tell Britain. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

T

b.

F

c.

T

d.

F

e.

F

f.

F

g.

T

h.

T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

furious

a.

angry

2

garbage

b.

rubbish

3.

destined

c.

headed

4.

repatriation

d.

return

5.

fines

e.

penalties

6.

released

f.

issued

7.

hesitate

g.

delay

8.

hazardous

h.

dangerous

9.

safeguarding

i.

protecting

10.

stamp out

j.

stop

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

1,400 tonnes of

a.

British garbage

2

It was destined for Brazilian waste

b.

recycling companies

3.

Brazil has demanded that Britain

c.

take back its rubbish

4.

Brazil is not the rubbish

d.

dump of the world

5.

companies would receive

e.

heavy fines

6.

The British Embassy in Brasilia

f.

released a statement

7.

Britain would not hesitate

g.

to act

8.

the movement of hazardous

h.

and toxic waste

9.

the safeguarding

i.

of human health

10.

Public anger over the issue

j.

increased

GAP FILL:

Brazil fury over Britain’s toxic waste

Brazilians are furious over 1,400 tonnes of British garbage arriving at its ports. The stinking waste included toilet seats, dirty diapers, leaking batteries and used syringes. The rotting cargo arrived in 64 different containers at three Brazilian ports earlier this year. It was destined for Brazilian waste recycling companies. The recyclers were angry over the contents as they were expecting only recyclable plastic. Brazil has demanded that Britain take back its rubbish. Roberto Messias of Brazil’s environment protection agency said: "We will ask for the repatriation of this garbage….Clearly, Brazil is not the rubbish dump of the world." Messias made it clear the importing companies would receive heavy fines.

The British Embassy in Brasilia released a statement saying it was investigating the case. Officials said Britain “would not hesitate to act” if any British company had broken international laws. Both Brazil and Britain signed up to the Basel Convention on the movement of hazardous and toxic waste in 1992. The embassy said: "The UK takes a strong global lead on protection of the environment and the safeguarding of human health, and will do all it can to stamp out the illegal trade in waste.” Public anger over the issue increased when the police found thousands of dirty toys in a container with a note in Portuguese that said: “These toys should be washed before being given to poor Brazilian children.”

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - a

2 - b

3 - c

4 - d

5 - d

6 - c

7 - a

8 - b

9 - c

10 - a

11 - d

12 - b

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