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Test date: 2018/10

Environmental protection

Agree/ Disagree
Government and Society

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic.

Individuals can do nothing to improve the environment; only governments and large companies can make a difference.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your knowledge or experience. Write at least 250 words.

Model Essay

Environmental issues have become an increasing concern among individuals and governments in the modern world. Some people reject the role of individuals and argue that environmental protection can only be achieved by the governments and big businesses. I personally consider this to be a flawed argument, and I will explain my reasoning in the following essay.

In reality, governments and corporations take responsibility for protecting the environment. Governments could enact laws to reduce many environmental problems, while large companies are capable of investing large amounts of money in sustainable development goals. However, all the policies and campaigns will show no effect without the active cooperation of residents. In Vietnam, although the government tries to raise the public’s awareness of environmental issues and even imposes heavy fines on those who violate environmental laws, many beaches and the surrounding ecosystems have been badly polluted by the sheer number of visitors. Therefore, I believe that there needs to be more action taken from individuals in such situations.

Furthermore, all the combined actions of all people will have a profound impact on the bigger picture. Researchers found that an individual will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 1500 pounds per year if he leaves his car at home two days a week. Another prime example is in waste management processes. While residents can spend just a few minutes separating their biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste, it takes days for waste recycling plants to achieve the same task.

In conclusion, I disagree with the opinion that the environmental issues can only be reduced by governments and large enterprises because individuals also need to make a significant contribution to the process of keeping the planet clean. In other words, this matter can only be dealt with by simultaneous participation of governments, companies and  residents.

(297 words)


• To take responsibility for something
• To enact laws
• To be capable of doing something
• Sustainable development goals
• The active cooperation of residents
• To raise somebody’s awareness of something
• To impose heavy fines on something
• To reduce greenhouse gas emissions
• Waste management processes
• biodegradable (adj)
• To make a significant contribution to something

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