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What do we know about the ecological situation in the cities
we live in? Not much, if anything. We may do something to protect lakes from factory waste or from drying up, we are concerned about the future of our great forests, the age-old taiga,
and we develop ecological models of whole seas. But what
about the cities?
As scientific and technological progress continues (and this
process is irreversible) it demands an increasingly cleaner environment. A cleaner technology calls for a cleaner natural environment: cleaner water and air. And whereas in the factory, we
can in some way limit the effect of an aggressive, eroding environment by insulation, ventilation, filters and air-conditioning,
once its products leave the workshop they are attacked by the
aggressive environment of any large city. Even the buildings
and structures deteriorate and you can see the effects with the
naked eye. You may have noticed how often they have to be
given a fresh coat of paint, for instance.
The larger cities have the biggest concentrations of advanced
technology. The most expensive plants and equipment, buildings, structures and communication networks, etc. are there.
They also have the largest concentrations of people, the best
educated and trained personnel. A large city is a model of the
undesirable ecological future which would' befall all of us if we
had not already alerted ourselves to the danger and begun thinking about what is to be done. The task now is to study the ecological problems of large cities. The main problems here include: human health in a large city, the potential for further scientific and technological progress and, finally, the preservation
of natural elements present in the city itself and its environs.
The scientists of the Institute of Social and Economic Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg do a
research into methods of ecologically planning larger cities.