978 European Matters

Aiste and Christophe talks about some of the environmental problems in Europe.


Christophe: OK, Aiste, we're going to talk about environmental issues in Europe. So, does Lithuania have environmental issues?

Aiste: Oh, actually were are facing kind of a big problem. The Baltic Sea that's besides Lithuania. You know three Baltic countries: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, together with Scandinavian and Denmark are close to the Baltic Sea that's very isolated and almost has no contact with the ocean and because of that it functions almost like a lake so it means the oxygen can't really get into it and there are a lot of algae growing and the eutrophication and together pollution as well as nutrients increase due to the factories that are around the place where people live are causing a lot of problems in Baltic Sea.

Christophe: Eutrophication? What does that mean?

Aiste: Eutrophication is actually a process when due to the increase nitrates and other organic materials, a lot of algae starts growing in the sea, and therefore it deprives the sea of oxygen and once it deprives the seas of oxygen, no more fish can live in the sea and they start dying out. Therefore the sea smells with kind of sulphur - strange smell - and it's a huge problem because the biodiversity and the fish and the in the sea decreases.

Christophe: Wow! That sounds horrible.

Aiste: What about Belgium? Do you have any problems in Belgium do the environment?

Christophe: Well, first of all we have a lot of people living in a very small country. I think we have around four hundred people each square kilometer, so it means that there are too many people in my country. Everything is full of houses, so there's almost no forest any more. There's a real huge problem of deforestation. The second problem is that we have a lot of rivers that are polluted. We have many factories and they're polluting our rivers because we have a lot rivers in Belgium. Remember, it is raining there a lot of times and there just dumping all their stuff in the river so this causes rivers that have no fish anymore, or where children cannot swim in anymore, so that's a very, very huge problem in Belgium and we're trying to solve that now.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

face a problem


We are facing kind of a big problem.

When we are facing a problem that means we have a problem we need to take care of. Notice the following:

  1. The world is facing the big problem of global warming.
  2. We are facing kind of a big problem. Our new English teacher speaks too fast.



It functions almost like a lake.

To function like something or someone means to work or perform the same as another thing or person. Here are two samples:

  1. Most of the time our guest room functions as a storage room.
  2. Good teachers often function as role models for younger kids.

due to


The pollution is due to the factories.

We use the phrase 'due to' when we want to give a reason why. It is similar in meaning to 'because'. Notice the samples:

  1. Due to the rainy weather, we've been facing a horrible traffic problem.
  2. The concert was cancelled due to low ticket sales.

organic materials


other organic materials

The phrase 'Organic materials' means natural materials. Here are two samples:

  1. The experimental house is built of organic materials.
  2. The company uses 100% organic materials in their products.

die out


They start dying out.

When plants, animals or things die out, it means they begin to die in large numbers. Notice the sample sentences:

  1. The art of cooking is dying out in many developed countries.
  2. Due to close contact with Mekong fishermen, the Mekong dolphin has begun dying out.



Factories are dumping all their stuff in the river.

The word 'stuff' can mean anything, and we 'dump' things we don't want. Here, 'stuff' means chemicals  from factories that flow into the sea. Notice the samples:

  1. After dinner, we dumped all the dirty dishes in the sink and watched the game on TV.
  2. He was so tired he dumped all his stuff on the floor and went to sleep.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Below are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
facing • functions • due to
organic materials • died out • dump
  1. Your back pain is lifting heavy boxes yesterday.
  2. It basically as a watch and MP3 player.
  3. Some countries separate the from the inorganic materials.
  4. Almost all the fish in the lake because of the ice in the winter.
  5. You can the rest of your coffee out in the sink.
  6. The company is a decrease in budget.