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UNIT TWO. BEWARE THE DIRTY SEAS. An Introduction. Learning Objective. 1) To understand the serious problem of pollution and

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learning objective
Learning Objective
  • 1) To understand the serious problem of pollution and
  • 2) to learn how the author, in fulfilling the purpose of informing his readers, provides abundant, specific and precise figures and facts, and organizes them tightly and clearly.
background information
Background Information
  • Global Change:

1) Thinning of ozone sphere

2) Global warming (greenhouse effect)

3) Damage to biodiversity

4) Desertification

Chief Types of Pollution
  • Air pollution
  • Water pollution
  • Soil pollution
  • Noise pollution
  • Nuclear pollution
Air pollution:
  • Air pollution refers to the contamination of air by such substances as fuel exhaust and smoke.
  • According to WHO, about 1/5 of the world’s people are exposed to hazardous levels of air pollutants.
major sources of air pollution
Major Sources of Air Pollution
  • 1) natural causes (volcanoes, pollen, etc.)
  • 2) various fertilisers and insecticides which contribute to pollution in nature. Animal digestion and excrement are an important source of methane (CH4), a gas which contributes to the greenhouse effect.
3) combustibles for heating, for obtaining the energy needed for industrial production or to get rid of man’s waste. Accordingly, industry and incinerators for household waste discharge pollutants into the atmosphere, in particular heavy metals, dust, etc.
4) Travel, by road or air is a major source of pollution: road transport alone is responsible for over 40 % of discharges of suspended particles into the atmosphere. In the urban environment, they are the main cause of air pollution.
Smoke and dust spew out of chimneys at a factory in Shizuishan, northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region June 5, 2005.
  • More than half of 500 Chinese cities failed to meet national air quality standards last year, state media reported .
new images from space spotlight asian air pollution
New Images from Space SpotlightAsian Air Pollution
  • A visualization of satellite data captured and processed January 1–20, 2003, by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) shows heavy pollution from China and Southeast Asia blowing out over the Pacific Ocean.
Water Pollution:
  • Water pollution refers to the contamination of water by sewage, toxic chemicals, metals, oils, etc. According to WHO, 5 million people die every year from drinking polluted water.
sources of water pollution
Sources of Water Pollution
  • Leaky tanks or pipelines containing petroleum products
  • Leaks or spills of industrial chemicals at manufacturing facilities
Municipal landfills
  • Livestock wastes
  • Leaky sewer lines
Fertilisers on agricultural land
  • Pesticides on agricultural land and forests
  • Contaminants in rain, snow, and dry atmospheric fallout
Soil Pollution:
  • Soil pollution refers to the destruction of the earth’s thin layer of healthy,productive soil, where much of our food is grown.
Major causes of soil contamination include illegal dumping of waste and leakage of wastewater from factories and business facilities.A characteristic of soil pollution is deposits of hazardous chemicals. When toxic substances in soil dissolve to contaminate water or air, or when polluted soil is exposed to human skin, human health may be affected.
  • Why do we have to be concerned about the cases of pollution which are found in other parts of the world?

All the ecosystems of the earth are connected!

  • The relationship among the living and non-living things in an environment make up an ecological system. All the ecosystems of the earth are connected.
  • Pollution that seems to affect only one part of the environment may also affect other parts.
the mediterranean sea
The Mediterranean Sea
  • The Mediterranean Sea is a part of the Atlantic Ocean almost completely enclosed by land, on the north by Europe, on the south by Africa, and on the east by Asia.
  • It covers an approximate area of 2.5 million km² (965 000 mi²).
The Mediterranean Sea is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the Strait of Gibraltar on the west and to the Sea of Marmara and Black Sea, by the Dardanelles and the Bosporus respectively, on the east.
  • The man-made Suez Canal in the south-east connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea.
the mediterranean countries
The Mediterranean Countries

1) Algeria 8) Libya 15) Turkey

2) Cyprus 9) Malta

3) Egypt 10) Monaco

4) Greece 11) Morocco

5) Israel 12) Spain

6) Italy 13) Syria

7) Lebanon 14) Tunisia

“Beware the Dirty Seas” is one of the articles that one reads for information.
  • Determined by its purpose, such an article should provide abundant, specific and precise figures and facts and it should also be tightly and clearly organized.
After stating his thesis at the beginning of the article, the writer devotes the greater part of the article to the causes of pollution and its consequences.
  • Then he makes mention of a number of geographic, demographic, and even historical factors that contribute to the severity of the case.
  • He concludes the article by touching upon the solution to the problem.
the title beware
The Title: Beware
  • 1) vt or vi. used to warn someone to be very careful about something or someone: e.g.
  • Beware salespeople who promise offers that seem too good to be true.
  • You should beware of undercooked food when staying in hot countries.
2) used on signs to warn people of something dangerous:Beware of the dog.Beware the poisonous chemicals.

What is the thesis statement?

The thesis statement:

The Mediterranean is the most polluted sea in the world.

  • [1]Every year 100 million holiday-makers are drawn to the Mediterranean. With one-third of the world's tourist trade, it is the most popular of all the holiday destinations; it is also the most polluted.

Oil and Tar

  • Industrial poisonous waste
  • Untreated sewage

1,2: pour/ sluce

What is the fine distinction between the two words?

What, according to this Para.2, are the main causes of pollution in the Mediterranean region?

  • [2] It has only 1 per cent of the world's sea surface, but carries more than half the oil and tar floating on the waters. Thousands of factories 1pour their poison into the Mediterranean, and almost every city, town and village on the coast 2sluices its sew­age, untreated, into the sea.
  • pour (CAUSE TO FLOW) to make a substance flow from a container, especially into another container: e.g.
  • Pour the honey into the bowl and mix it thoroughly with the other ingredients.
  • Would you like me to pour you some more wine?
  • sluice   n.[C] an artificial channel for carrying water, which has an opening at one end to control the flow of the watersluice  v. If water sluices out from somewhere, it flows in large amounts:e.g.Water sluiced out from the pipes.

1. nurture

  • Is this word used in its denotation or connotation?
  • [3]The result is that the Mediterranean, which 1nurtured so many civilizations, is 2gravely ill --- the first of the seas to 3fall victim to4the abilities and attitudes that evolved around it. And the pollution does not merely5stifle the life of the sea --- it threatens the people who inhabit and visit its shores.
nurture vt.FORMAL 1) to take care of, feed and bring up someone or something, especially young children or plants, and help them to grow:e.g.
  • She wants to stay at home and nurture her children.2 ) to help a plan or a person to develop and be successful:e.g.
  • As a record company director, his job is to nurture young talent.
2 gravely ill
2. Gravely ill
  • This is an example of personification.
3 fall prey victim to sth sb
3. fall prey/victim to sth/sb
  • to suddenly begin to suffer as a result of something or someone bad.e.g.
  • Police fear that more pensioners could fall prey/victim to the thieves.
4 abilities and attitudes
4. Abilities and attitudes
  • (para.3)
  • Abilities: efforts made to develop economy
  • Attitudes: irresponsible mentality towards environmental protection
The first sentence of Para.3 means:
  • What happens is that the Mediterranean, the cradle of many ancient cultures, is seriously polluted. It is the first of the seas that suffer from a situation resulting from development and irresponsible mentality (towards environmental protection).
5 stifle
5. Stifle


  • Make a comment on the use of this word in the statement “ And pollution does not merely stifle the life of the sea.”
  • stifle vt./vi. to (cause to) be unable to breathe because of a lack of air:e.g.
  • We almost stifled in the heat of the city.
  • stifle vt. to prevent something from happening, being expressed or continuing:e.g.
  • She stifled a cough/yawn/scream/ sneeze.
  • I don't know how I managed to stifle my anger.
  • We should be encouraging new ideas, not stifling them.


  • Endemicusually suggests sth like a disease or sth undesirable
  • 1.endemic
  • regularly found and very common among a particular group or in a particular area:e.g.
  • Malaria is endemic in many of the hotter regions of the world.
  • There is endemic racism/poverty/

violence in many of the country's cities.

  • [4] Typhoid, paratyphoid, dysentery, polio, viral hepatitis and food poisoning are 1endemic in the area, and there are periodic outbreaks of cholera.

1The mournful litany

  • This is a figure of speech called transferred epithet.
  • A transferred epithet is the transfer of an adjective from one noun to another.e.g.
  • restless night/happy morning/ happy quiver of a bird
  • The implication:
  • Only the cities like Cannes and Tel Aviv have treated sewage relatively properly.
  • 2straight off
  • off
  • 1) ad., prep.away from a place or position, especially the present place or position:e.g.Keep off the grass!
  • 2)   prep. near to:e.g.
  • He lives just off the main road.
  • It's an island off the east coast of Spain.
  • Question:
  • What is the implication of the statement Most cities just drop it in straight off the beach; rare indeed are the places like Cannes and Tel Aviv…..?
  • [5] 1The mournful litany of disease is caused by sewage. Eighty-five per cent of the waste from the Mediterranean's 120 coastal cities is pushed into the waters where their people and visitors bathe and fish. What is more, most cities just drop it in 2straight off the beach; rare indeed are the places like Cannes and Tel Aviv which pipe it even half a mile offshore.
[6] Less than 100,000 of Greece's four million coastal people have sewage properly treated and Greece, as our map shows, is one of the cleaner countries of the northern shore.
  • [7] The worst parts of the sea are the Israeli / Lebanon coast and between Barcelona and Genoa, which flushes out over 200 tons of sewage each year for every mile of its length.

1be awash with

  • awash  adj. [after verb]1) covered with a liquid, especially water:
  • By the time I discovered the problem, the floor was awash.2) having a large amount of something
  • The city is awash with drugs and the police are powerless to do anything about it


Awash usually suggests an amount of sth larger than necessary or sth undesirable

  • [8] Not surprisingly, vast areas of the shallows 1are awash with bacteria and 2it doesn't take long for these to reach people. Professor William Brumfitt of the Royal Free Hospital once calculated that anyone who goes for a swim in the Mediterranean has 3a one in seven chance of getting some sort of disease. Other scientists say this is an overestimate; but almost all of them agree that bathers are at risk.
2 it doesn t take long
2. It doesn’t take long…
  • Please pay attention to the use of the word long in the following examples:
  • 1) continuing for a large amount of time:
  • I've been waiting a long time.
  • It's a long time since I worked there.
2) used to mean '(for) a long time', especially in questions and negative sentences
  • Have you been waiting (for) long?
  • I'm just writing a letter but it won't take long.
  • I won't be staying much longer.
3 one in seven chance of
3. One in seven chance of…
  • This expression is used to indicate a proportion of sth or probability of an event.

e.g. They have a one in five chance of winning the game.



to exist although it is not always noticeable; exist unseen e.g.

  • Danger lurks around every corner.
  • It seems that old prejudices are still lurking beneath the surface.
  • NOTE:
  • This word is usually used of an unpleasant feeling or quality.

2. seductive

What does this word imply?

It implies a potential danger that lies ahead

  • [9] An even greater danger 1lurksin the 2seductive seafood dishes tbat add much interest to holiday menus. Shellfish are prime carriers of many of the most vicious diseases of the areas.

This phrase refers to the practice of making shellfish appear fresh by sprinkling water on them.

  • [10] They often grow amid pollution. And even if they don't they are frequently infected by 1the popular practice of "freshening them up" --- throwing filthy water over them in markets.
[11] Industry adds its own poisons. Factories cluster round the coastline, and even the most modern rarely has proper waste-treatment plant. They do as much damage to the sea as sewage.

1. Riviera

  • 1) a coastal area between La Spezia in Italy and Cannes in France (Example: "The Riviera contains some of Europe's most popular resorts")
  • 2) an area of coast, especially one where there are holiday towns with beaches
  • [12] Fifteen thousand factories foul the Italian Ligurian 1riviera. Sixty thousand pollute the Tyrrhenian Sea between Sardinia, Sicily and the west Italian coast! The lagoon of Venice alone receives the effluents of.76 factories.

Industries: factories or plants

  • This is an example of an abstract word used to indicate sth concrete
  • [13] More filth comes washing down the rivers from industries far inland. The PO and the Rhone are the dirtiest, followed by the Ebro and the Llobregat in Spain, by the Adige and the Tiber in Italy, and by the. Nile.
  • [14] Thousands of tons of pesticides are blown off the fields into the sea, detergents from millions of sinks kill fish, and fertilizers, flushed out to sea, nourish explosions of plankton which cover bathers with itchy slime.


  • Question:
  • Is this word used in denotative or connotative sense?
  • Connotation: help develop; encourage;think much about sth
  • nourish explosions
  • Lisa has long nourished the hope of becoming a famous writer.
  • 1nourish
  • Denotation: to provide people or living things with food :
  • Children need plenty of good fresh food to nourish them.
  • This cream is supposed to help nourish your skin
  • Connotative sense: rapid proliferation or growth
  • [14] Thousands of tons of pesticides are blown off the fields into the sea, detergents from millions of sinks kill fish, and fertilizers, flushed out to sea, 1nourish2explosions of plankton which cover bathers with itchy slime.
[15] Then there is the oil --- 350,000 tons pouring each year from ships, 115,000 tons more from industries round the shore. Recent studies show that the Mediterranean is four times as polluted by oil as the north Atlantic, 40 times as bad as the north-east Pacific.

1. landlocked

  • enclosed by land;
  • surrounded by other countries and having no ports of its own
  • [16] Apart from the nine-mile-wide Strait of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean is 1landlocked, virtually unable to cleanse itself. It takes 80 years for the water to be renewed, through the narrow, shallow straits, far too slow a process to cope with the remorseless rush of pollution.
  • What are the factors that lead to the severity of the pollution in the Mediterranean ?
1) Narrow and shallow outlet of the Strait of Gibraltar

2) Weak coastal currents and feeble tides

3)Long-standing practice of dumping wastes into the sea

4)Multiplication of population and increasing number of tourists

[17] Weak coastal currents keep sewage and industrial waste close to the shore and gently spin floating oil and tar towards the beaches. And the sea's feeble tides can do little to help remove it.
  • [18] 0f course, the people of the Mediterranean have always used the sea for their wastes. The canals of Venice, the waters of the Bosphorus and the sea off the Nile Delta have been health hazards for centuries.

2. treble

  • treble  vi. & increase three times in size or amount, or to make something do this:e.g.
  • The price of property has almost trebled in the last ten years.
  • Question:
  • What does BUT imply in the statement?
  • 1. The word BUT implies that the population increase has made the situation even worse.
  • c.f. triple  vi. & vt. to increase three times in size or amount, or to make something do this:e.g.
  • We have tripled our output over the past two years.
  • The workforce has tripled insize since the new factory opened.
  • [19] 1But the population has increased round the shores to 100 million and a further 100 million tourists come annually. The population of the French and Italian rivieras 2trebles every summer.
  • [20] Three tourists visit the northern shore every year for every yard of beach. With the numbers of holiday-makers expected to double in the next 20 years, it is hard for even the best treatment plants to cope.

1. The good news is that …

  • 1.
  • This construction can be rephrased as:
  • Luckily, the countries…
  • Fortunately, the countries …
  • We are happy to learn that the countries…


c.f. It doesn’t take long for these to reach people. (para.8)

  • [21] 1The good news is that the countries of the Mediterranean have been coming together to work out how to save their common sea.
  • [22] 2But it will be a long time before the measures they approved take effect in cleaning up the sea.
summary of the rhetoric of the text
Summary of the Rhetoric of the Text
  • 1) personification: The Mediterranean is gravely ill… (para.3)
  • 2) transferred epithet : the mournful litany (para.4)
Less formal structures marked with connectives or contraction:
  • And the sea’s feeble tides can do little to help remove it. (Para.17)
  • But the population has increased round the shores to 100 million…(Para.19)
But it will be a long time before the measures they approved take effect in cleaning up the sea. (Para.22)
  • And even if they don’t they are frequently infected by the popular practice of “freshening them up”---throwing filthy water over them in markets. (Para.10)
out of class assignment
Out-of-class Assignment
  • Study on your own the analysis concerning cause and effect on page 21.
  • Make a list of the verbs in the text which are similar to the category of pour or discharge