Dear students of Poland,
When I heard that Margotwas going to Warsaw, I thought this would be a good opportunity to findout more about your country and what you are doing about the environment.
Although I am British, Iwas born in Brussels and have lived here all my life. Thats the greatthing about Europe you feel at home anywhere.
I am very interested in theenvironment so I should point out that Brussels is quite a large city whichmeans we have a lot of traffic and traffic jams are getting more frequentall the time. We have a good public transport system but not enough peopleuse it. We live opposite a tram stop so it is very easy for us. Do youhave a good public transport system in Warsaw. Do you have a metro, orjust trams and buses? I take the school bus every day to school soI feel that I am doing my bit for the environment. I would quite like tocycle because we have some good cycle paths, but my school is a bit faraway and anyway I like chatting to my friends on the bus. Do many peoplecycle in Warsaw?
Its Wednesday today, whichis the day they collect our rubbish. We have strict rules about thekinds of rubbish you can put out. You have to keep organic waste separateso that it can be composted and you have to keep plastic separate for recycling.Paper and glass are also collected separately. The only trouble is youhave to make sure you use the right colour bags for each. A lot of shopsalso have special containers for used batteries because they contain chemicalslike nickel and cadmium and have to be disposed of separately. We alsohave container parks where you can take special waste like paint or oldelectrical equipment. This probably sounds very complicated if you donthave this system, but at least it means that all this rubbish does notend up in the environment. Do you have any recycling schemes?
Some parts of Brussels arevery industrial but we live on the edge of the city so the air seems reasonablyclean. What is it like in Warsaw? Do you have lots of big factories oris it easy to breathe? After the high temperatures this summer, I am startingto get quite worried about air pollution as I am sure the climate mustbe changing, I dont remember it ever being quite so hot in Belgium before.We went to Greece for our summer holidays and when we got back Belgiumwas the same temperature!
I know Poland is a largecountry with lots of forests and open country so I expect you have a lotof really interesting animals and plants. But as the sea is so far awayI suppose you have to swim in rivers and lakes. I hope the water is niceand clean. Perhaps you even have rivers you can use to generate electricity.Here in Belgium, we have quite a few wind generators up on the coast becauseit is so windy. Some people have solar panels on their roofs butI dont know if there is enough sun to make them really efficient perhapsthat will be one advantage of global warming!
Did you have Car-Free Dayin Warsaw? I thought the whole Mobility Week was a great idea to encouragepeople to think more about the environment and how their behaviour affectsit. We had a good time on Car-Free Day. The city of Brussels was shut offto motor traffic and it really was fun skateboarding down three-lane highways!I hope you enjoyed your car-free day too. I know a lot of cities in Europedid it.
Anyway, I must stop now asI have some homework to do all about photosynthesis. I am very keen onscience as I hope to go on to study marine biology. I am just a bit worriedthat by the time I qualify there wont be much sea life left. When I wentsnorkelling in Greece I was very disappointed at how few fish there are. Your sea is the Baltic, isnt it? I read that a lot of marine life hasdisappeared from there too.
Still, it is very encouragingto hear that there are children in the rest of Europe who are keen to learnmore about the environment. Perhaps when we are in charge we can do betterjob than our parents did!
If you want to send me theanswers to some of these questions I would love to hear from you.
Bye for now,
I hope that while I amvisiting the school you will be able to give some answers to Tinas questions.
And of course you arevery welcome to ask me questions of your own if you want to know more aboutthe environment in Europe.
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