Return to site

每日跟讀#550: Plastic found in deepest ocean animals

塑膠污染程度惡化 深海動物亦受其害

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English
跟著通勤學英語,每日提升英語力!

每日跟讀#550: Plastic found in deepest ocean animals

Animals living in the deepest ocean trenches have been found with plastic fragments in their gut, according to new research published on Feb. 27 showing how manmade pollution reaches into the bowels of the planet.

發表於二月二十七日的一篇新研究顯示,科學家在棲息於海溝最深處的動物內臟中發現塑膠碎片,該研究同時也指出人造汙染物是如何到達地球深處的。

More than 300 million tonnes of plastics are produced annually, and there are at least five trillion plastic pieces floating in our oceans. Because deep-sea exploration is expensive and time-consuming, most studies on plastic pollution up until now had been close to the surface, showing a widespread level of plastic contamination in fish, turtles, whales and sea birds.

人類每年製造出超過三億噸的塑膠,而今日至少有五兆件塑膠垃圾在我們的海洋中載浮載沉。由於深海探勘既昂貴又費時,因此目前大部分關於塑膠污染物的研究聚焦於海洋表面附近,並顯示出塑膠污染擴及魚類、海龜、鯨魚以及海鳥體內的廣泛程度。

Now a British team of researchers say they have discovered cases of plastic ingestion among tiny shrimp in six of the world’s deepest ocean trenches. In the Mariana Trench east of the Philippines, the deepest depression on Earth, 100 percent of the animals studied had plastic fibers in their digestive tracts. “Half of me was expecting to find something but that is huge,” said Alan Jamieson, from Newcastle University’s School of Natural and Environmental Sciences.

直到現在,一組英國的研究團隊表示,他們在世界最深的六個海溝中,都發現極小蝦子攝食塑膠物的案例。位於菲律賓東邊的馬里亞納海溝是地球上最深的凹陷處,於該處採集的動物消化道中全都發現含有塑膠纖維。英國紐卡索大學自然與環境科學院的艾倫‧傑米森表示:「我當時一半的心情是期待找到某些東西的,但這項發現實在讓人震驚。」

Jamieson and his team normally spend their time looking for new species in the depths of the ocean. But they realized that during the course of expeditions dating back a decade they had accumulated dozens of specimens of a species of tiny shrimp that lives between 6,000-11,000m beneath the surface. They decided to look for plastic. “We are sitting on the deepest dataset in the world, so if we find (plastics) in these, we are done,” Jamieson told AFP.

傑米森和他的團隊通常都把時間花在尋找海洋深處的新物種。然而,有一天他們意識到,在這十年來進行探勘的過程中,他們已經累積了數十個相同小蝦物種的標本,這類小蝦棲息於海平面底下六千到一萬一千公尺深處。他們遂決定從中尋找塑膠物。傑米森告訴法新社說:「我們已經位於世界最深處的資料庫,所以如果在其中找到(塑膠物),那人類就完蛋了。」

The team was astonished by just how widespread the plastic contamination at extreme depths proved to be. For instance, the Peru-Chile Trench in the southeast Pacific is around 15,000km from the Japan Trench. Yet plastic was found in both. “It’s off Japan, off New Zealand, off Peru, and each trench is phenomenally deep,” Jamieson said. “The salient point is that they are consistently found in animals all around the Pacific at extraordinary depths so let’s not waste time. It’s everywhere.”

該團隊震驚地發現,塑膠污染被證實如此廣泛地分布在極端的深處。舉例而言,太平洋東南方的秘魯-智利海溝距離日本海溝大概一萬五千公里遠,但是兩地都發現塑膠。傑米森說:「這個情況發生在日本外海、紐西蘭外海、秘魯外海,而且每一個海溝都極度深邃。」傑米森進一步指出:「重點在於,遍布太平洋、位於非常深處的動物體內都持續發現塑膠存在,所以不要浪費時間了,塑膠真的到處都是。」

Of the 90 individual creatures the team dissected, 65 — over 72 percent — contained at least one plastic microparticle. The study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, said it was unclear if the particles had been ingested by fish at higher depths which then died and sank. But when the team analyzed the fibers — most of which appeared to be clothes fabrics such as nylon — they found that the plastics’ atomic bonds had shifted compared to brand new material, suggesting they were several years old.

在研究團隊解剖的九十個生物個體中,就有六十五個──超過百分之七十二──含有至少一個塑膠微粒。這份發表於期刊《皇家學會開放科學》的研究指出,目前無法確知這些分子是否是被深度較淺的魚類攝食,然後這些魚死亡後沉入深海。不過,當研究團隊分析這些塑膠纖維時──絕大部分似乎是尼龍等衣物織料──他們發現,跟全新的塑料材質相比,海底生物體內發現的塑膠原子鍵已經改變,表示它們已經存在多年。

Microplastic particles are either dumped directly into the seas via sewers and rivers or form when larger chunks of plastic break down over time. Once they start gathering bacteria, they get heavier and eventually sink. “So even if not a single fiber were to enter the sea from this point forward, everything that’s in the sea now is going to eventually sink, and once it’s in the deep sea, where is the mechanism to get it back?” asked Jamieson. “We are piling all our crap into the place we know least about.”

微塑膠分子可能是經由下水道或是河川直接排放到海中,或可能因為大塊的塑膠隨時間分解而產生。一旦細菌開始聚集在這些分子上,它們就會變重,最後往下沉。傑米森問道:「所以,就算從現在開始完全不再有任何一條塑膠纖維進入海中,目前在海裡的一切最後都會往下沉,而一旦進入深海,還有什麼機制能把它們取回來?」他表示:「我們正不斷把所有垃圾堆進所最不了解的地方。」

Because plastic contamination is now so widespread, even at extreme depths, the team cautioned that it was nearly impossible to know what effect plastic ingestion was having on bottom-dwelling species. “These particles could just pass straight through the animal, but in the animals we looked at they must be blocking them. The equivalent would be for you to swallow a 2m polypropylene rope and expect that not to have an adverse effect on your health,” said Jamieson. “There’s no good aspect to this.”

由於塑膠污染現在分布如此廣泛,甚至蔓延到極端的深處,研究團隊提出警告,人類幾乎不可能知道攝食塑膠會對底棲生物造成什麼樣的影響。傑米森指出:「這些分子可能直接通過動物排出,但在我們研究的動物中,它們一定有造成堵塞。這就等同於要你吞下兩公尺長的聚丙烯繩索,然後期待它不會對健康造成任何負面影響。」他表示:「這不會有什麼好處的。」

Source article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2019/03/10/2003711169/2

更多跟讀練習單元,就在http://www.15mins.today/daily-shadowing
用email訂閱就可以收到所有15mins.Today最新節目通知。
All Posts
×

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!

OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly