Grappling for air

March 6, 2019—Ancient Rome, of which the Doryphorus is a ideal specimen, put a premium on athleticism and physical perfection. Exercise had a place in daily life in its stadiums and coloseums.

The same can be said in Dakar, Senegal, except there it’s in the open. In this West African nation, athletes end their days sprinting, doing squats, and sweating together outdoors. Increasingly, though, these wrestlers, soccer players, and fitness fanatics are fighting for air to breathe. Thanks to increasing industrialization and little if any enforcement of pollution laws, the air is thick with diesel exhaust and desert sand blowing down from the Sahara. “Sports and pollution,” said one local wrestling coach, “they don’t go together.”


Source: Dionne Searcey and Jaime Yaya Barry, “On Dakar’s Streets, Working Out Is a Way of Life. Pollution Is Spoiling the Rush.,” The New York Times, March 5, 2019