Air pollution is a problem for most of the world’s population. With the rise of industrialism in many developing countries, fresh air is now in short supply. Particularly in large cities, people need more fresh air and less pollution. In this TED Talk from 2009, Kamal Meattle demonstrates how to improve the quality of air in your home by using a simple arrangement of plants.

Watch and Listen

As you watch this video, try to make notes on the main ideas. If someone were to ask you what it was about, how could you summarize this video?





Here’s a question from the IELTS Writing Exam Task 2:

Air pollution is one of the largest problems facing the world today. What are its causes and what measures can be proposed to solve this problem?

What do you need to do in order to successfully answer this question?

  1. Explain some of the causes of air pollution (not other kinds of pollution, such as water or light pollution).
  2. Suggest some measures that can be taken to solve the problem.

Sample Answer

In many parts of the world, air pollution is wreaking havoc on people’s lives, and so governments and NGOs are determined to tackle the problem in order to raise living standards. The problem is complex because there is no single cause for air pollution, and thus no one simple solution. This essay will explore the causes and measures that can be taken to address them.

There is a multitude of factors contributing to our present air pollution problems. Perhaps the most iconic issue is the emissions produced by cars. As people around the world become more affluent, they want their own reliable forms of transportation, and so the car has become a widespread possession. However, these vehicles produce CO2 emissions that poison our air. Another problem that is often less visible is the damage being done by agriculture and industry. These are often far away from large urban centers, yet their emissions are so serious that they blanket cities in smog. Around the developing world in particular, one can see large smokestacks spitting black soot into the sky, turning the air grey.

There are so many causes that contribute to air pollution and they are so integral to the quality of our daily lives, that alleviating their negative effects is a major challenge. People are reluctant to give up their cars, even when public transport is available. In places like China, cars have become a status symbol. It is therefore essential that all road vehicles are subject to strict emission tests to ensure that they do no more damage than is strictly necessary. Moreover, the emissions from agriculture and industry must be stemmed by government intervention. Punishments for breaking environmental laws should be severe, but also it would be useful to implement incentives for green businesses.

In conclusion, the problem is air pollution will not be easy to solve; however, certain steps can be taken to reduce its occurrence across the world.