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  • In many ways, plastic is the perfect material: we can make it strong and rigid enough to

  • build spaceships and replace bones, or thin and flexible enough to make shopping bags

  • that weigh as much as a nickel but carry up to 17 pounds. And unlike other materials,

  • plastic doesn't rust or rotit can last for centuries, even when we only need it to

  • last a few seconds.

  • We make tons of plastic precisely because it's cheap, durable and yet expendable.

  • But the features of plastic that make it so useful to us have also transformed life in

  • the oceans, where as much as 10% of our discarded plastic -- millions of tons per year -- ends

  • up. Big pieces of plastic are definitely bad news for marine animals like whales, albatross,

  • and sea turtles, which risk getting tangled in the debris or ingesting large pieces of

  • it.

  • Yet despite the publicity about huge garbage patches in the sea, most of the ocean's plastic

  • isn't bigour castaway shopping bags and soda bottles get weakened by sunlight and

  • torn apart in the wind and the waves into little bits of plastic confetti. On the micro-scale,

  • though, it's still super durablethe microorganisms that decompose ripped-up bits of wood and

  • seaweed down into simpler organic compounds can't easily digest plastic. So while the

  • plastic confetti gets broken into smaller pieces, it doesn't go away - it just spreads

  • out over time. Which is why we've found "microplastics" pretty much everywhere in the oceans, from

  • the Arctic to the Antarctic, and from the seafloor to the surface.

  • Unlike the easy-to-observe impacts of large plastic trash, the effects of microplastics

  • are as subtle and difficult to trace as the fragments themselves: the durable fragments

  • can serve as new real estate on which small ocean creatures can grow and multiply; or

  • choke slightly larger ocean creatures that think the plastics are food; or attract and

  • collect toxic chemicals which become introduced into the food chain if the particles are eaten;

  • and probably a million other problems we haven't noticed yet. Because we've only recently started

  • paying attention to all these microplastics in the oceans.

  • But it's undeniable how much plastic trash we've introduced into marine ecosystems, and

  • the wonderful durability of plastic guarantees it'll be an issue for years to come - it's

  • possible we can decrease further impact by switching to biodegradable plastics, dumping

  • less plastic in the oceans, or cleaning up the patches of sea most strewn with plastic,

  • but until we do, the question is, will the oceans be plastic enough to deal with our

  • favorite material?

In many ways, plastic is the perfect material: we can make it strong and rigid enough to

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B2 中高級 美國腔

海洋彩紙! (Ocean Confetti!)

  • 301 14
    cathy~ 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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