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Aftermath of an Oil Spill

In 1989, the oil tanker Exxon-Valdez ran aground on a reef in Prince William Sound in Alaska spilling 11 million gallons of oil. The spill fouled up about 1300 miles of shoreline and caused the death of some 300,000 birds. One of the most vibrant ecosystems on planet Earth was gravely affected by this horrendous disaster.

Now, about twelve years later. journalists and television news reporters have returned to the scene to look for signs of lingering damage or alternatively of positive healing. It comes as no surprise that they report they have found both, although the balance still tips heavily in favor of damage.

On the damage side, oily residues still continue to mar the beaches while traces of oil are still staining the waters off the coast. The once bountiful herring population is now drastically reduced, thus affecting the entire food web. Earlier, 2600 sea otters had perished and there are no signs that the sea otter will ever recover from this initial blow. Many bird species have also similarly not quite recovered and this includes species such as the cormorant, the guillemot, and the marbled murelet.

Equally serious, if not more so, reporters have discovered the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in stream beds at concentration levels exceeding the maximum allowed by the state. If prompt action is not taken, these hydrocarbons will continue to harm and possibly kill young salmon for years to come.

Human destinies have also been affected. The livelihood of fishermen has been seriously threatened and although in the days following the spill, they have successfully sued Exxon company for damages, they have yet to see a penny of the award. This is because Exxon is appealing against the award of US$5 billion. While waiting for the appeal to come through, bitterness continues to be rife among the fishermen.

On the healing side, reporters have noted that the bald eagle has made complete recovery. The outlook also seems good for inter-tidal and sub-tidal communities.

     
  1.

In general, an oil spill

       
    (A) causes the death of thousands of birds
    (B) causes the death of thousands of animals
    (C) affects the entire planet Earth
    (D)

affects the ecosystem

       
  2.

What inference can you draw about an oil spill from paragraph 2 ?

       
    (A)

The effects of an oil spill takes years to overcome.

    (B) Healing always takes place after an oil spill.
    (C) Journalists want to report the truth.
    (D) Televising the actual evidence is the best proof.
       
  3.

The author says that some bird species have not quite recovered. What does he mean by this ?

       
    (A) Their feathers are still covered with oil.
    (B) Their habitat is completely destroyed.
    (C)

Their numbers are still very small.

    (D) Their sources of food are destroyed.
       
  4.

The concentration levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are very high in stream beds. What inference can be drawn from this about the nature of pollution ?

       
    (A) Pollution levels are getting higher.
    (B)

Pollution from the sea is filtering into the rivers.

    (C) The outcome of an oil spill is hydrocarbons.
    (D) The outcome of an oil spill must be constantly monitored.
       
  5.

In paragraph 4, what inference can one draw about the life-cycle of salmon ?

       
    (A) Young salmon are hatched from eggs.
    (B) Young salmon are born alive.
    (C)

Salmon produce their young in upstream river.

    (D) Salmon like rivers for safety.
       
  6. Why are the fishermen very bitter ?
       
    (A)

They did not receive any money from the award.

    (B) Since Exxon is appealing, they are afraid they might lose their money.
    (C) There is no more fish to catch.
    (D) Their environment is destroyed.
       
  7. What do inter-tidal and sub-tidal communities refer to ?
       
    (A) The fishermen
    (B) The people who live along coast
    (C) Swimmers who frequent the beach
    (D)

Marine life

       
           
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  Answers : 1) D    2) A    3) C    4) B    5) C     6) A     7) D
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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