My 1,000
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My 1,000
Ideas
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Date: Jul 14, 2005

Level: Harder (Try the easier lesson.)

Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening

Audio: (1:54 - 223.1 KB - 16kbps)

THE ARTICLE

In an effort to clean up its act, Kenya’s Environment Ministry has launched a campaign to encourage the use of biodegradable shopping bags at stores around Kenya. The East African Standard reported that Environment and Natural Resources minister Kalonzo Musyoka inaugurated the eco-friendly plastic bags, which are designed to reduce litter and curb pollution. A ministry spokesperson said: “This is an apt measure to make our landscape less of an eyesore. Everywhere you go, you see discarded shopping bags.” Implementation of the new initiative is part of Kenya’s involvement in the world environment protection programme.

Introduction of the bags did not come without controversy in Kenya. Manufacturers were adamant that doing away with the traditional plastic bags would cost 20,000 jobs. Environmentalists argued the social cost of litter, pollution and the threat of disease far outweighed employment concerns. The new biodegradable bags will help alleviate Kenya’s high incidence of malaria. Non-degradable bags collect rainwater and are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The new bags decompose and thus prevent conditions for waterborne diseases arising. A nationwide ban on plastic shopping bags is next on the agenda to rid Kenya of the scourge of disposable plastic.

WARM-UPS

1. PLASTIC BAGS: In pairs / groups, talk about your thoughts on plastic bags from stores. Do you think about the cost to the environment? Do you take your own bag? Is there a policy in your country to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags?

2. QUICK ROLE PLAY: Students A are the bosses of companies that manufacture plastic shopping bags. You don’t care about the environment. You only care about profits. Students B are environmentalists. You see plastic bags as a huge environmental threat. In pairs, role play a discussion between manufacturers and environmentalists.

3. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

Kenya / supermarkets / shopping bags / eco-friendly / landscapes / eyesores / litter / pollution / malaria / mosquitoes / plastic

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

4. PLASTIC: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word “plastic”. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

5. PLASTIC OPINIONS: In pairs / groups, discuss how far you agree with these opinions on plastic:

  1. Plastic should be banned worldwide.
  2. People should be educated to know how to correctly dispose of plastic.
  3. Plastic shopping bags are incredibly useful.
  4. Supermarkets shouldn’t provide any bags. Lazy customers should bring their own.
  5. Litter bugs should be heavily fined for throwing bags onto the street.
  6. The biggest problem is that there aren’t enough public rubbish bins / trash cans.
  7. Environmentalists worry too much.
  8. If people had to pay 10 cents for a plastic bag, the litter problem would disappear.
  9. I hate it when the handle of the bag breaks or there’s a hole at the bottom.
  10. Plastic bags are a huge threat to the ozone layer.

 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):
 

a.

The Kenyan government has banned plastic shopping bags.

T / F

b.

Kenya’s government is encouraging the use of “green” shopping bags.

T / F

c.

Plastic bags cause irritation to the eyes that can lead to blindness.

T / F

d.

Kenya’s shopping bag policy is part of a global clean-up campaign.

T / F

e.

Shopping bag manufacturers were happy with the new campaign.

T / F

f.

Environmentalists were very concerned about job losses.

T / F

g.

Plastic shopping bags encourage malaria to spread.

T / F

h.

A nationwide ban on plastic toys is next on Kenya’s agenda.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

inaugurated

plan

b.

curb

rate

c.

apt

mess

d.

eyesore

plague

e.

initiative

greatly

f.

adamant

instituted

g.

doing away with

insistent

h.

far

appropriate

i.

incidence

scrapping

j.

scourge

restrict

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

In an effort to clean

without controversy

b.

curb

measure

c.

an apt

the new initiative

d.

less of an

of malaria

e.

Implementation of

pollution

f.

did not come

up its act

g.

the social

of disposable plastic

h.

Kenya’s high incidence

eyesore

i.

waterborne

cost of litter

j.

rid Kenya of the scourge

diseases

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the correct spaces.

Kenya disposes of disposable bags

In an _______ to clean up its act, Kenya’s Environment Ministry has launched a campaign to _______ the use of biodegradable shopping bags at stores around Kenya. The East African Standard reported that Environment and Natural Resources minister Kalonzo Musyoka _______ the eco-friendly plastic bags, which are designed to reduce litter and _______ pollution. A ministry spokesperson said: “This is an _______ measure to make our landscape less of an _______. Everywhere you go, you see _______ shopping bags.” Implementation of the new _______ is part of Kenya’s involvement in the world environment protection programme.

 

 

eyesore
curb
initiative
encourage
apt
effort
discarded
inaugurated

Introduction of the bags did not come without _______ in Kenya. Manufacturers were _______ that doing away with the traditional plastic bags would _______ 20,000 jobs. Environmentalists argued the _______ cost of litter, pollution and the threat of disease far _______ employment concerns. The new biodegradable bags will help alleviate Kenya’s high incidence of malaria. Non-degradable bags collect rainwater and are ideal _______ grounds for mosquitoes. The new bags decompose and thus prevent conditions for _______ diseases arising. A nationwide ban on plastic shopping bags is next on the agenda to _______ Kenya of the scourge of disposable plastic.

 

 

cost
waterborne
outweighed
adamant
rid
social
breeding
controversy


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘plastic’ and ‘bag’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the gap fill. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT PLASTIC BAG SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about plastic bags and the environment.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • act
  • encourage
  • inaugurated
  • curb
  • eyesore
  • initiative
  • controversy
  • cost
  • outweighed
  • incidence
  • waterborne
  • scourge

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. What was your initial reaction to this headline?
  2. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  3. What is your opinion on plastic shopping bags?
  4. Have you ever thrown a plastic bag on the street?
  5. Would you say anything to someone you saw throw litter on the street?
  6. Are you a litter bug?
  7. What do you do to recycle?
  8. What would you think if supermarkets charged a fee for shopping bags?
  9. What is the best way to deal with the problem of plastic?
  10. Which is more important, jobs or the environment?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What did you think about what you read?
  3. What do you think of the initiative in Kenya?
  4. How does your country need to clean up its environmental act?
  5. Are there any parts of your town that are an eyesore?
  6. Do you think you should take your own shopping bag when you go to the supermarket?
  7. In what other ways do you use your plastic bags?
  8. Do you agree with a nationwide ban on plastic shopping bags?
  9. What other environmental scourges should be on the agenda to be done away with?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What question would you like to ask about this topic?
  2. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  3. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  4. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  5. What did you like talking about?
  6. Do you want to know how anyone else answered the questions?
  7. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

GOODBYE PLASTIC

In pairs / groups, find alternatives to the use of plastic in the products below. What are the alternatives? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the alternatives?

 

PRODUCT

 

 

ALTERNATIVES

 

ADVANTAGES

 

DISADVANTAGES

Shopping bags
 

 

 

 

Food wrapping
 

 

 

 

Pens
 

 

 

 

Children’s toys
 

 

 

 

Bottles
 

 

 

 

Your choice

___________
 

 

 

 

After you have finished, change partners and discuss your alternatives and their advantages or disadvantages compared with plastic. Decide whether or not an alternative material should replace the plastic.

Return to your original partner(s) and compare the decisions you made.

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Kenya disposes of disposable bags

In an effort to clean __ ___ ____, Kenya’s Environment Ministry has launched a campaign to encourage ___ ____ ___ biodegradable shopping bags at stores around Kenya. The East African Standard reported that Environment and Natural Resources minister Kalonzo Musyoka ____________ the eco-friendly plastic bags, which are designed to reduce litter and _____ pollution. A ministry spokesperson said: “This is __ ____ measure to make our landscape less of __ ________. Everywhere you go, you see discarded shopping bags.” Implementation of the new __________ is part of Kenya’s involvement in the world environment protection programme.

Introduction of the bags did not come without ____________ in Kenya. Manufacturers were adamant that _____ _____ _____ the traditional plastic bags would cost 20,000 jobs. Environmentalists argued the social cost of ______, pollution and the threat of disease ___ __________ employment concerns. The new biodegradable bags will help _________ Kenya’s high incidence of malaria. Non-degradable bags collect rainwater and are ideal breeding ______ for mosquitoes. The new bags decompose and thus prevent conditions for waterborne diseases _________. A nationwide ban on plastic shopping bags is next on the agenda to rid Kenya of ___ ______ __ disposable plastic.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on plastic. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson.

3. RECYCLE: Make a poster that shows the best way to recycle the things you throw away every day. Show and explain your posters to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you put similar things on your posters?

4. LETTER: Write a letter to the head of Kenya’s Environment Ministry to tell him / her what you think of the decision to promote biodegradable shopping bags. Read your letter to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you all write about similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. F

d. T

e. F

f. F

g. T

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

inaugurated

instituted

b.

curb

restrict

c.

apt

appropriate

d.

eyesore

mess

e.

initiative

plan

f.

adamant

insistent

g.

doing away with

scrapping

h.

far

greatly

i.

incidence

rate

j.

scourge plague

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

In an effort to clean

up its act

b.

curb

pollution

c.

an apt

measure

d.

less of an

eyesore

e.

Implementation of

the new initiative

f.

did not come

without controversy

g.

the social

cost of litter

h.

Kenya’s high incidence

of malaria

i.

waterborne

diseases

j.

rid Kenya of the scourge

of disposable plastic

GAP FILL:

Kenya disposes of disposable bags

In an effort to clean up its act, Kenya’s Environment Ministry has launched a campaign to encourage the use of biodegradable shopping bags at stores around Kenya. The East African Standard reported that Environment and Natural Resources minister Kalonzo Musyoka inaugurated the eco-friendly plastic bags, which are designed to reduce litter and curb pollution. A ministry spokesperson said: “This is an apt measure to make our landscape less of an eyesore. Everywhere you go, you see discarded shopping bags.” Implementation of the new initiative is part of Kenya’s involvement in the world environment protection programme.

Introduction of the bags did not come without controversy in Kenya. Manufacturers were adamant that doing away with the traditional plastic bags would cost 20,000 jobs. Environmentalists argued the social cost of litter, pollution and the threat of disease far outweighed employment concerns. The new biodegradable bags will help alleviate Kenya’s high incidence of malaria. Non-degradable bags collect rainwater and are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The new bags decompose and thus prevent conditions for waterborne diseases arising. A nationwide ban on plastic shopping bags is next on the agenda to rid Kenya of the scourge of disposable plastic.

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