IELTS Speaking topic – Modern problems #3 -
IELTS Speaking topic - modern problems 3 with sample questions, answers and vocabulary

IELTS Speaking topic – Modern problems #3

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Describe a modern environmental issue that concerns you.
You should say:

  • what the issue is
  • what causes it
  • how it affects the environment

and explain what you think could be done to address this problem.

Model answer

It goes without saying that the world of today faces a great number of environmental problems of varying magnitude. The one that I see needing immediate attention is ever-increasing industrialisation of high-population countries. China and India are prime example, with their emission control not always up to international standards.

While industrialisation itself is not a big concern – if anything, it should be welcomed as a natural part of development – the associated drastic increase of industrial waste makes me feel very uneasy. Such waste is an inevitable by-product of industrial processes. To dispose of it in an eco-friendly manner one has to dedicate a lump part of their budget to that. This inevitably cuts into the profit margins. Sadly, not many business owners pay the price as long as the regulating bodies turn a blind eye to it.

One of the biggest negative impacts of the situation described above is ground water pollution. Ironically, it primarily affects the people living on the land, the people that should be held accountable for the situation in the first place. And to speak of the possible solution for the situation, I hold it that one could be effectively solve it by imposing fines onto the company responsible for inadequate handling of industrial waste. 

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Modern technologies

In what ways does modern technology cause problems for people today, and how can these problems be addressed?

Okay, well I guess that growing affordability of private cars is one thing that both directly and indirectly creates certain issues. While cars have been around for well over a century now and it is not a big issue in itself, the increase in financial well-being and population growth in general have lead to exponential number of private vehicles. I believe that forcing carpooling and restricting car ownership could be an effective, if not a bit draconian way to tackle the issue in a resolute manner.

Another tech-related problem that stands out today is excessive reliance on said modern technologies. The majority of teenagers nowadays doesn’t know how to read a map – and why would they need this skill if they have GPS navigation readily available? Paper-based medium in general is going out of fashion as a part of the natural path of least resistance. Growing too dependent on technology can potentially backfire, the problem manifesting themselves in an event of a total blackout cause by a solar flare or similar global event.

How has social media contributed to modern communication problems? What are the consequences of this for society?

I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a problem, really. I believe it to be a paradigm shift – somewhat similar to moving from carts and horses to bicycles, motorcycles and cars. People choose the easiest and the most convenient way, whether it is getting around the city, buying something or communicating. The truth is the dynamic world of today is not conducive to face to face meetings – people are simply too busy to see each other whenever they feel like talking. That’s when social media and messengers step in as facilitators.

Another competitive advantage such approach has is asynchronous approach to communication. To put it simply – a telephone conversation is not always the best way because the person you are calling to might be too busy at this very moment, so they have to call you back and there’s no telling you will be available then. Text-based interaction solves this problem – you can reply to the message at your own convenience, whenever. I think this simple fact really gives it an edge over the more conventional approaches. Therefore, the consequences are only positive.

In your opinion, what are the main challenges faced by modern healthcare systems today? How can governments and healthcare professionals tackle these problems?

One challenge that the healthcare system has to deal with nowadays is the medical career might have lost its allure to some young professionals. In the past a doctor was seen as a respectable, even a somewhat glamorous occupation so naturally students aspired to become one. The money has always been a factor too, of course, even today doctor’s financial compensation is impressive, but the glamour seems to have gone. Maybe the reason is that many feel that in twenty something years the lion’s share of the work will be performed by robotic counterparts of today’s medical staff. To make the profession attractive again the state could run a promotional campaign on popular social media sites, show how essential nurses, physicians and others really are to our society.

Another serious obstacle for the industry is the ever-evolving viruses. Pharmaceutical companies struggle to come up with remedies and vaccines for the rapidly increasing and mutating variants of said viruses and in turn doctors end up with no means of battling with those. An obvious solution is to increase funding for research and development by any means possible, even fully subsidizing those by the government.

Environmental Issues

What are the most pressing environmental issues facing the world today? How can individuals and governments work together to find solutions to these problems?

They say that one of the most urgent thing that needs tackling is the glaciers slowly but steadily thawing. The cause is well-known: growing mean temperatures. They climb to the thawing point even in the colder parts of the globe such as the poles. The problem is two-sided: on one hand we have indigenous species losing it habitat and on the other the rising sea level that at this rate will submerge as much as 20% of lowland territories by the turn of next century. I believe this is as urgent as it gets if we talk about global scale.

Even though individual contribution to CO emission is lower compared to industrial, it is still worth raising awareness regarding this issue and cultivate a culture of conscious consumption, recycling and reusing old things. As for the industries, as main contributors they should make up for the damage by financing preservation efforts.

How can governments encourage individuals and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to combating climate change?

As I have already mentioned this previously, awareness is key. We simply can’t know how many people are oblivious to the current state of global warming and the general trajectory of climate. Things of such grand scale take time, so maybe the state should appeal to the feelings of selflessness. Tt is our kids and grandkids who will have to reap the consequences of our irresponsible attitude to nature. People have to care about posteriority. If they don’t, then nothing can save humanity and no amount of convincing can help it.

What role can technology play in mitigating environmental problems such as pollution and waste management?

Technological advancements look quite promising. One example is the recently developed artificial substance that feeds on oil. These synthesized bacteria that see oil as food and they aid in getting rid of oil spills. This is a terrible man-made phenomenon when oil gets dumped into a body of water and spreads over huge distances in a thin layer that blocks oxygen. This technology has been successfully used to rectify such unfortunate situations.

Yet another case when technology comes to environmental rescue is the progress in electric propulsion that aims to oust conventional engines. There are several billion vehicles around the globe, many of them in rather poor compliance with the current strict eco restrictions. If electric vehicle take off and get traction with the modern consumer, they could greatly offset CO emission volume.

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