How Dakar uses the Atlantic Ocean as a septic tank


Despite the poor quality of its water, the Senegalese coast remains a popular destination. But the planned construction of a local desalination plant on the shores of the West African nation next year has roused opposition from locals who believe the project will do long-term damage to the environment. Fabien Offner reports from the capital Dakar.

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It happened back in February 2016. Senegalese and Moroccan surfers were riding the waves in the Baies des Carpes, off the Ngor district of Dakar, competing in the national heats of the Rip Curl Africa Tour. Judges and spectators were watching their moves from a promontory above. Some of them wore face masks to protect themselves from irritating pollutants, the source of which was unknown. Then, over the next few hours, some of the surfers began to fall ill.