Economic Progress & Clean Environment - IELTS Exam Task 2 Essay Question & Answer

Writing Task 2

Some people believe that it is possible for a country to be economically progressive and still maintain a clean environment at the same time, while others believe this is not possible.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

Economic progress, especially in developing countries is often linked to industrialization and manufacturing output which typically involves heavy energy consumption, something which few countries can meet through solely renewable green energy sources. Therefore, economic development and being environmentally friendly are often seen as conflicting factors in the development cycle of a nation.

The major causes of pollution, especially air contamination, are heavy industry, manufacturing, and traffic emissions. All these are closely linked to the gross domestic product (GDP) of a nation, and in the case of many developed nations as GDP has risen so too have levels of pollution. It is only in relatively recent times that pollution levels have decreased somewhat as the economies of such nations have moved away from heavy industry and manufacturing to high technology industries and service industries, thus decreasing the traditional sources of much damage to the atmosphere and environment.

Nowadays, there is strong emphasis on sustainability in all areas of life; however, this comes at a cost as, for example, high tech employment and green energy jobs require a higher level of skills in the workforce, and as such not all nations can meet such requirements currently. Many developing countries are still heavily dependent on heavy industry for their economies, thus a certain adverse impact on the environment should be expected.

While many people argue that it is essential for the global population to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint, or environmental pollution, some countries such as China also propose that individuals have the basic human right of opportunity for development, just as those in countries with so called advanced economies have enjoyed in the past.

Therefore, it is essential to consider not only the impact of economic activity on the environment in the long term, but also the impact of not allowing certain economic activities on populations and the opportunities for periods of development which would improve education, standards of living and eventually lead to the development of more advanced and sustainable economies, ultimately resulting in lower levels of pollution and contamination being produced in the future.

Personally, I believe that economic development must always be encouraged, but at the same time environmental impact must be reduced and constantly monitored, and ultimately brought to minimal and non-harmful levels. This can only be achieved through greater global collaboration and the world’s leading economies supporting developing countries to create sustainable economic growth and opportunities for their populations.


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