Senegal: Dakar divers fight to clear plastic tide


1 You’re going to read an article titled, “Senegal: Dakar divers fight to clear plastic tide.” Before reading it, answer the following questions.

(1) What do you know about Senegal?
(2) What do you think is the topic of the article? Guess the topic from the title.


2 Match each of the following words and phrases with its meaning.

(1) end up in …   ・  ・ (a) to have a lower priority than something
(2) dump …      ・  ・ (b) to officially say that something is not allowed
(3) address …      ・  ・ (c) to think about a problem and start dealing with it
(4) trail far behind …   ・  ・ (d) to get rid of something
(5) ban …       ・  ・ (e) to be in a particular place at the end of a period


3 Match each of the following words and phrases with its meaning.

(1) be under way  ・  ・ (a) a difficult job
(2) descent      ・  ・ (b) to be put into effect
(3) a mammoth task  ・  ・ (c) an act of moving down
(4) come into force ・  ・ (d) to have started



[1] According to the United Nations, 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans every year. In the Senegalese capital of Dakar, the fight against this plastic tide is well under way, thanks in part to a team of amateur divers operating under the name Oceanium.

[2] Restricted by oxygen levels, the divers have just one hour per descent to gather as much rubbish as they can. It’s a mammoth task, and the worry is that their efforts are a mere drop in the ocean, with Senegal dumping over 250,000 tons of waste into the Atlantic each year.

[3] In this West African nation, addressing green issues trails far behind the drive to ease poverty.
Oceanium organised their first clean-up operation two years ago. Now, the plan is to make them more frequent– first, once a month, and then if funding permits, once a week.

[4] In 2015, the country passed a law banning the sale of plastic bags. But four years on, this has still not come into force. And Goree island, a popular tourist destination off the coast of Dakar, is particularly affected by this pollution.

[5] The team’s most recent cleanup operation saw hundreds of kilos of waste removed from the ocean. It’s certainly a start, but there’s still a long way to go if Senegal is to attain President Macky Sall’s goal of becoming a “zero waste” nation.




Natural Speed

Slow Speed

♦What does each of the weights below refer to? Choose from (a)-(c).
(1) 8 million tons
(2) over 250,000 million tons
(3) hundreds of kilos
(a) the waste removed from the ocean by the recent cleanup operation
(b) the amount of plastic waste dumped into the world’s oceans every year
(c) the amount of plastic that Senegal dumps into the ocean every year




▶ Comprehension Check 1:
Identify whether each of the following statements is true or false.

[A] The government of Senegal recruited professional divers and organized a group called Oceanium.
[B] There is a law in Senegal that was enacted but has not yet been put into effect.
[C] Plastic waste in the ocean is easy to collect because it doesn’t break down.

▶ Comprehension Check 2:
What does the phrase“ their efforts are a mere drop in the ocean” in paragraph 2 imply? Choose the most appropriate answer from (a) to (c) below.

(a) Throwing away one piece of plastic doesn’t affect ocean pollution.
(b) There is far more plastic waste dumped in the ocean than is gathered by divers.
(c) Removing plastic from the ocean one piece at a time will make a big difference.

▶ Comprehension Check 3:
What can be inferred from the article? Choose one from (1) to (3) below.

(1) Oceanium has been doing clean-up operations once or twice a month.
(2) The people of Senegal and its government have different opinions about environmental problems.
(3) There are many hurdles to overcome to meet the goal proposed by the president of Senegal.




You are a reporter for a world-famous TV news channel. You are going to report on the article your news program. Your report should be one minute long. Prepare notes you will refer to while doing your report.



(1) Does your country have problems like those described in the article?
(2) What kinds of environmental problems does your country face?
(3) What should people in your country do in their daily lives to make the future of our planet better?



An international meeting of high school students will be held soon. A representative from each country will give a presentation at the meeting. The theme of the presentations will be, “What we can do to save the Earth.” You’re the representative for Japan. Write a speech and prepare a presentation. The presentation should be one minute long.