Plastic problem 塑料帶來的問題

We can't live without plastic. But where does it go when we've finished with it?
Our world's plastic problem

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塑料是我們生活中不可缺少的一種原材料。我們用它制作像購物袋、瓶子或包裝等等的日常用品。但那些被我們丟棄的塑料制品最後往往會被倒入海洋中,而事實證明此做法給野生動植物的生存帶來極大的挑戰。本集《隨身英語》討論塑料給環境帶來的影響和問題。

課文內容

Vocabulary: the environment 詞彙: 環境

How many plastic carrier bags have you got in your house? I seem to have cupboards full of them and it feels like they’re taking over my home! The ubiquitous shopping bag is just one example of the million things we use made from this useful material, plastic. But unfortunately, it’s not the easiest thing to recycle and this is causing an environmental problem.    

Most of our everyday plastic items end up in landfill, left to rot away for many years. But some of it blows away, blighting the countryside and causing damage to the natural environment and harming wildlife. The problem is most acute in our oceans. Research has found an uninhabited island in the South Pacific is littered with the highest density of plastic waste anywhere in the world. Henderson Island, part of the UK’s Pitcairn Islands group, has an estimated 37.7 million pieces of debris on its beaches.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, described how remote islands act as a ‘sink‘ for the world’s rubbish. They become collecting points for fishing items and everyday things including toothbrushes, cigarette lighters and razors; things that we throw away. Dr Jennifer Lavers from the University of Tasmania says “Almost every island in the world and almost every species in the ocean is now being shown to be impacted one way or another by our waste.”

This highlights the potentially deadly effect of our disposable culture. When we throw something away, it doesn’t just disappear, it goes somewhere and because of the durable nature of plastic, it takes a long time to decompose and stays there causing great damage to the ocean’s ecology. Some other recent worldwide research estimates that 90% of all seabirds have swallowed plastic. And worse still, this plastic is broken down into tiny particles over a long period by the wind and the waves, then sea creatures at the bottom of the food chain ingest them. These creatures are eaten by the fish that we eventually consume.

The solution to this problem would be to use less plastic. Several countries now charge for using plastic carrier bags which reduces the amount used and some products now use natural and recyclable materials but it seems inevitable that plastic will continue to be necessary in many of the gadgets that we demand.

So next time you pick up a carrier bag, or buy a plastic bottle of water, spare a thought for the birds and animals on the remote Henderson Island. What do you do to help the environment?

詞彙表

plastic carrier bag 塑料購物袋
ubiquitous 感覺無處不在的
blight (使)破壞
wildlife 野生動植物
acute 十分嚴重的
be littered with 在公共場合到處亂扔垃圾
density 密度
debris 碎片
sink 池子,坑
impacted 受影響的
disposable culture 丟棄文化
durable 持久的
decompose (使)分解
ecology 生態
particle 微粒
ingest 咽下,攝取
recyclable 可回收利用的
spare a thought for somebody 替某人著想

測驗與練習

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Which area of our planet is most affected by plastic waste?

2. According to the article, how many species of animals are now affected by plastic waste?

3. Why does plastic take a long time to decompose?

4. What have some countries done to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags?

5. True or false: Only the islands of the South Pacific have been affected by plastic waste so far.

2. 請你在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. The new motorway has now opened, ______the peace and quiet of the village.

littering        blighting        decomposing        ingesting

2. The coastguard has found ______ from the shipwreck washed up on the beach.

ingest        debris        decompose        ecology

3. A restaurant owner has been fined £25,000 after health inspectors found a ______ pigeon in the kitchen.

decompose        decomposition        decomposed        decomposes

4. Conservationists fear that if the weeds are not removed they could threaten the ______ of the park.

durability        impact        ecology        density

5. The face cream is for rubbing on your skin but make sure you don’t ______it, as it could make you sick.

ingesting        ingested        ingestable        ingest

答案

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Which area of our planet is most affected by plastic waste?
The problem is most acute in our oceans.

2. According to the article, how many species of animals are now affected by plastic waste?
Dr Jennifer Lavers from the University of Tasmania says “…almost every species in the ocean is now being shown to be impacted one way or another by our waste.”

3. Why does plastic take a long time to decompose?
It is durable.

4.What have some countries done to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags?
Several countries now charge for using plastic carrier bags which reduces the amount used.

5. True or false: Only the islands of the South Pacific have been affected by plastic waste so far.
False. Dr Jennifer Lavers from the University of Tasmania says “Almost every island in the world and almost every species in the ocean is now being shown to be impacted one way or another by our waste.”

2. 請你在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. The new motorway has now opened, blighting the peace and quiet of the village.

2. The coastguard has found debris from the shipwreck washed up on the beach.

3. A restaurant owner has been fined £25,000 after health inspectors found a decomposed pigeon in the kitchen.

4. Conservationists fear that if the weeds are not removed they could threaten the ecology of the park.

5. The face cream is for rubbing on your skin but make sure you don’t ingest it, as it could make you sick.

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