5-speed listening (Level 5)

World Heritage sites at risk from industry






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The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has given a warning about the future of the world's natural World Heritage sites. Half of the sites are at risk from harmful activities, such as mining, dredging or drilling for oil. Other dangers include illegal logging, using too much water, and climate change. The WWF says 114 of 229 sites are affected. These include Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the Grand Canyon National Park in the USA, and China's Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, where over thirty per cent of the world's endangered pandas live.

The director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre said: "World Heritage is humankind's common heritage, and the responsibility for its conservation is shared by everyone." She said governments were trying to take less from the Earth, saying: "Governments and the private sector around the world are stepping up their action against harmful extractive uses." However, the WWF said over 11 million people worldwide rely on World Heritage sites for food, water, shelter, jobs and medicine. Non-stop development could harm these people as well as the environment.

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