Q. 1:In the second paragraph, the phrase “what hammering a nail is to halting a falling skyscraper” means:
1. relying on emerging technologies to mitigate the ill-effects of plastic pollution.
2. encouraging the responsible production of plastics by firms.
3. focusing on consumer behaviour to tackle the problem of plastics pollution.
4. focusing on single-use plastic bags to reduce the plastics footprint
The clue to the right answer is given in the last sentence of the first para and first sentence of the second para. The last sentence of the first para says “the lie is that blame for the plastic problem is wasteful consumers and that changing our individual habits will fix it.” The author suggests that changing consumer habits may not be a solution to the problem.
He further adds in the second para “Recycling plastic is to saving the Earth what hammering a nail is to halting a falling skyscraper”. He suggests that neither recycling nor change in consumer behavior is going to solve the problem. The right answer is 3
The answer to this question can be directly found in the passage. The author has used the word ‘lie’ in the first para. He says “The lie is that blame for the plastic problem is wasteful consumers and that changing our individual habits will fix it”. The first part gives us the answer: the lie is the blame for the plastic problem is consumers. Thus, option 1 is the right choice. Since, the answer is directly stated and we have got the right choice, there is no point in disproving the others.
Q. 3:The author lists all of the following as negative effects of the use of plastics EXCEPT the:
1. slow pace of degradation or non-degradation of plastics in the environment.
2. air pollution caused during the process of recycling plastics.
3. adverse impacts on the digestive systems of animals exposed to plastic.
4. poisonous chemicals released into the water and food we consume.
This is one of the simplest questions in this paper. You have to search the options and you will find the right answer. Except for the air pollution effect, everything is given in the passage. Thus option 2 is the right choice.
Q. 4: Which of the following interventions would the author most strongly support:
1. completely banning all single-use plastic bags.
2. having all consumers change their plastic consumption habits.
3. recycling all plastic debris in the seabed.
4. passing regulations targeted at producers that generate plastic products.
The clue to the right answer can be found in the last sentence of the paragraph. Right from the start the author says that there is no point in blaming consumers and in recycling plastics. The problem is likely to persist until we change the legal framework. The last part of the para says “Our huge problem with plastic is the result of a permissive legal framework that has allowed the uncontrolled rise of plastic pollution, despite clear evidence of the harm it causes to local communities and the world’s oceans.”
If we pass regulations targeted at producers of plastics, we might be able to change the situation. Thus option 4 is the right choice.
Q. 5 : It can be inferred that the author considers the Keep America Beautiful organisation:
1. an innovative example of a collaborative corporate social responsibility initiative.
2. a sham as it diverted attention away from the role of corporates in plastics pollution.
3. an important step in sensitising producers to the need to tackle plastics pollution.
4. a “greenwash” because it was a benevolent attempt to improve public recycling habits.
The authors opinion about Keep America Beautiful can be found in the following lines in the
second last paragraph of the passage: This clever misdirection has led journalist and author Heather Rogers to describe Keep America Beautiful as the first corporate greenwashing front, as it has helped shift the public focus to consumer recycling behavior and actively thwarted legislation…. From this sentence we can infer that the author believes that Keep America Beautiful diverted people’s attention away from the role of corporates in plastic pollution.