Plastic pollution

We are all aware of the harm done by plastic pollution, but few of us know that to fix the problem we do need to understand the life cycle of this material and the products made of it. Artists and companies promote recycling and upcycling, scientists help us dig deeper and analyse the issue. How about joining forces and creating objects that will belong to a rather unobvious group of works of art? The challenges we face that stem from the abuse of the natural habitat of ours call for a wave of skilled individuals that will straddle the line between art and science, just like Da Vinci, Morse, Merian did.

The video and the text below will show you such pioneer actions. You will hear both native and non-native speakers of English. Exposure to such listening materials is a vital element of listening practice as most people we meet around the world are non-native speakers of English. We need to adjust to and understand various accents to communicate effectively.

Designing and decorating tall ships, steamers and other sea vessels have long attracted the best, most versatile artists and engineers. A group of scientists, designers and activists came up with an idea of responding to the pressing issue of plastic ocean waste.

Task 1

Watch the video and fill in the gaps with the passive forms of the verbs in brackets:

The plastic from the beaches _______ ________ ______(collet).//(został zebrany)

New optimist dinghies ______ _______ _______(make) now.//(są obecnie robione)

Can positive environmental impact _____ really ______ (make) by reusing the ocean plastic waste?//(czy naprawdę można pozytywnie wpłynąć na środowisko).

A few boats _____ ______ ______ (build) as a part of the scientific project.//(zostaną wybudowane)

To prove that reusing the material makes sense, the environmental assessment of the manufacturing process needs ____ _____ _____(do)//(musi zostać wykonany)

Task 2

Have you heard about The Flipflopi Project aimed at raising plastic pollution awareness? Enjoy reading the text and completing the task based on its content.


Boat made of recycled plastic and flip-flops inspires fight for cleaner seas along African coast
After completing a historic 500km journey from the Kenyan island of Lamu to the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar, the world’s first ever traditional “dhow” sailing boat made entirely from recycled …

What’s the missing word? Use the hints in the brackets to form the correct word.

  • to complete a h_______ journey (adjective/history)
  • to o________ a challenge (verb/deal with)
  • a ground-breaking dhow made by a m______ craftsman (adjective/mastery) from 30, 000 flip-flops and recycled plastic
  • to j________ forces and inspire world community (verb/come together)
  • to u________ governments to take action (verb/prompt action)
  • to launch a c_________ (noun/action)
  • plastic waste that ends up in the oceans w______ havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism (verb/destroy)

Artist’s voice: Chris Jordan

The picture below is not a mere copy of the the Van Gogh’s masterpiece. In 2011, Chris Jordan used 50,000 cigarette lighters to recreate the painting. At that time, it was equal to the estimated number of pieces of floating plastic in every square mile in the world’s oceans.

 See more works by the artist and zoom in to check their components:

Chris Jordan – Running the Numbers II
Chris Jordan's online photography gallery.

Can you think of other ways to reuse plastic in arts and crafts?

Additional reading:


Maja Witowska-Rubaszek & Kasia Szczepaniak

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