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白色污染的潜在危害

3 Unexpected Effects of Plastic Pollution

Plastic as we know it has only been widely used
自从20世纪40年代发明塑料保鲜盒
since Tupperware was invented in the 1940s,
塑料才开始被广泛使用
but now it’s nearly impossible to go a day without it.
但是现在我们一天也离不开它
And as useful as it is,
尽管很有用
plastic also causes some serious problems.
塑料也会引起一些严重的问题
You’ve heard about these things,
你们应该听说过这些事情
turtles caught in six-pack rings,
海龟被六罐装饮料的塑料固定环套住
garbage patches as large as Texas,
和德克萨斯州一样大的垃圾场
and beaches with more plastic debris than sand.
塑料垃圾比沙子还多的海滩
After all, millions of tons of plastic
毕竟 每年有数百万吨的塑料
end up in our oceans every year.
流入海洋
But as bad as that sounds,
虽然听起来已经很糟糕
some consequences of plastic pollution might still surprise you.
但白色污染的后果可能还是会让你吃惊
For one, plastics can emit greenhouse gases forever—
首先 塑料会一直释放温室气体
not just during the making and disposing of them.
不仅仅在制造和处理它们的过程中
Plastic is basically just a long chain of molecules,
塑料是由一长串分子组成的
and when it’s exposed to sunlight,
当阳光照射塑料时
UV radiation starts to break that chain down into smaller molecules
紫外线会将分子链分解成更小的分子
like methane and ethylene,
比如甲烷和乙烯
in a process called off-gassing.
这个过程叫做脱附
Both of these are greenhouse gases,
它们都是温室气体
but methane is especially bad
但甲烷尤其糟糕
because it’s 25 times better at trapping heat
因为它比二氧化碳更易吸收大气中的热量
in our atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
是二氧化碳吸收量的25倍
And as plastic breaks down,
随着塑料逐渐分解
the problem actually gets worse, not better.
问题会变得更糟 而不是更好
Researchers have found that,
研究人员发现
as more surfaces get exposed,
塑料表面积越大
there’s a huge increase in the release of gases.
有害气体的释放量越大
For example, a common plastic called LDPE,
例如 有一种叫做LDPE的塑料
or low-density polyethylene,
全称低密度聚乙烯
releases methane 488 times faster
它以粉末形式释放甲烷的速度
in a powdered form than in pellet form.
比颗粒形式快488倍
To make matters worse,
更糟的是
once this off-gassing process begins,
一旦脱附过程开始
it can continue even without sunlight.
即使没有光照 它也能持续下去
That’s because those first broken bonds
这是因为最开始断裂的化学键
make the rest of the plastic more brittle,
会使塑料的其余部分变得更脆弱
so it more easily breaks down on its own.
所以它更容易分解
Over time, it keeps breaking into smaller and smaller,
随着它不断分解成越来越小的部分
eventually invisible, particles.
最终会分解成看不见的微粒
And as it does, it releases greenhouse gases into the air.
这个过程中 塑料会持续释放温室气体
Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the story.
不幸的是 故事还没有结束
These indestructible pieces of plastic
这些不能降解的塑料
are also contributing to another modern problem:
也造成了另一个现代问题
antibiotic resistance.
抗生素耐药性
In a 2020 study out of Northern Ireland,
在2020年北爱尔兰的一项研究中
scientists collected bacteria from plastic
科学家们在爱尔兰附近的海上
found along the Irish coastline
从塑料垃圾中收集细菌
and tried to kill them with 10 commonly used antibiotics.
然后尝试用10种常用的抗生素杀死它们
…which turned out to be surprisingly hard to do.
结果却难以做到
98% of the bacteria were resistant to ampicillin,
98% 的细菌对氨苄青霉素有抗药性
one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics
其为治疗鼻窦和耳部感染
for things like sinus and ear infections.
最常用的抗生素之一
And 16% of the bacteria were resistant to minocycline,
16%的细菌对米诺环素有抗药性
another type of antibiotic.
米诺环素是另一种抗生素
Unfortunately, plastic is a great breeding ground for bacteria,
不幸的是 塑料还是细菌滋生的温床
because they will grow on any available surface in the ocean.
因为塑料 它们可以在海面的任何地方繁殖
And many antibiotic-resistant bacteria are already out there—
许多耐抗生素的细菌已经出现了
plastics just give them more places to flourish.
塑料只是给了它们更多的空间去繁殖
Once again, the problem gets worse as plastics break down,
随着塑料分解 这个问题又变得更加严重
because they create even more surface area for bacteria to colonize.
因为它们为细菌繁殖提供了更大的附着面积
And these bacteria don’t just stay way out in the ocean.
这些细菌并不仅仅停留在海洋里
The same study showed
同一项研究表明
that ocean currents can carry plastic covered in bacteria
洋流可以把布满细菌的塑料垃圾
back into coastal waterways,
带回到沿海水域
where different species could ingest them.
任何物种都有可能吞食它们
Unfortunately, another 2020 study found
不幸的是 2020年的另一项研究发现
that bacterial growth on marine plastics
海里的塑料由于细菌生长
actually makes these plastics smell like food to sea turtles.
使其闻起来像海龟的食物
So animals could be eating plastic
所以动物可能会吃掉塑料
because it smells good rather than because it looks like food.
因为它不仅看起来像食物 闻起来更香
Which is not great.
这可不是好事
Ingesting plastic covered in antibiotic-resistant bacteria
吞食带有耐抗生素细菌的塑料
could create health problems for marine animals—
可能会给海洋动物带来健康问题
and also for creatures higher up the food chain,
也会危害食物链上层的生物
including us.
包括我们人类
Now, as plastic breaks down,
随着塑料的分解
it breaks into smaller and smaller and smaller pieces,
它分裂成越来越小的碎片
and some of the smallest plastics
而一些最小的塑料
may be capable of doing the most harm.
会造成最大的伤害
Any plastic that’s smaller than a few micrometers
小于几微米的塑料
is called a nanoparticle,
可被称为纳米微粒
and research has found that these microscopic particles
研究发现这些微小颗粒
can even pass through biological barriers,
可穿过类似细胞膜的
such as cell membranes.
生物屏障
That means they can enter the bloodstream of animals,
这意味着它们可以进入动物的血液
pass through the gut lining,
穿过肠道内壁
and penetrate tissues.
进入组织
They can also accumulate in organs
它们也可以在器官中积累
like the liver, kidneys, and intestines.
比如肝脏 肾脏和肠道
Plastic nanoparticles have even been found
人们甚至发现塑料纳米颗粒
to penetrate the blood-brain barrier,
可以穿透脑血管障壁
a layer of cells that filter harmful substances
脑血管障壁是过滤有害物质的细胞层
out of the blood so they can’t get into the brain.
不让有害物质进入大脑
This seems to be dangerous
对食物链中的任何生物
no matter where you are on the food chain.
这都是危险的
In a 2017 study out of Sweden,
在2017年瑞典的一项研究中
researchers exposed a zooplankton called Daphnia magna
研究人员将一种水蚤
to a bunch of plastic nanoparticles.
暴露在塑料纳米颗粒中
The Daphnia consumed these particles,
水蚤吃掉了这些颗粒
and scientists found that,
然后科学家发现
while the larger particles didn’t seem to affect them,
较大的颗粒似乎不会影响它们
the smallest particles—around 50 nanometers
但大约50纳米的那些小颗粒
—were deadly.
是致命的
Next, to see the effect of the nanoparticles
接下来看看纳米颗粒
higher up in the food chain,
对食物链上层生物的影响
they exposed a group of Daphnia
他们再次将水蚤
to the plastic nanoparticles again,
放置于塑料纳米颗粒里
and then fed them to some fish called Crucian carp.
然后把它们喂给一种鲫鱼吃
Over the next two months,
在接下来的两个月里
the carp started to change:
鲤鱼开始发生变化:
They swam slower,
它们游得变慢
explored less of their environment,
对环境的探索变少
and lost more weight than the control group.
体重比对照组轻得多
When the researchers analyzed their brains,
当研究人员分析它们的大脑时
they found the 53-nanometer particles
他们在鱼脑中发现了
they had fed to the Daphnia in the fish’s brains.
他们喂给水蚤的53纳米的颗粒
And they think these invisible particles
他们认为这些肉眼不可见的颗粒
changed the carp’s behavior.
改变了鲤鱼的行为
These findings show that
这些发现表明
plastic nanoparticles can move up the food chain—
塑料纳米颗粒可以沿着食物链向上富集
and interfere with the natural function of an ecosystem.
扰乱生态系统功能
And if we ate fish that had ingested nanoparticles,
如果我们吃了摄入了纳米颗粒的鱼
researchers suggest that could even have a direct impact on us.
研究人员认为 这甚至可能对我们产生直接影响
Plastic is everywhere—in every environment in our planet—
塑料在我们星球上无处不在
and it’s not going away anytime soon.
而且不会很快消失
In some ways, that’s great,
在某些方面是好的
because plastic can be really useful.
塑料真的很有用
But unfortunately,
但不幸的是
it has some impacts
它也有一些影响
that probably no one was thinking about when they invented Tupperware.
是当初人们发明塑料保鲜盒时未预料的
So the less plastic we use,
所以如果我们减少使用塑料
and the more we understand the consequences,
更了解白色污染的后果
the better we can protect ourselves
那么就能更好地保护我们自己
and our planet’s natural ecosystems.
也保护了自然生态系统
Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow!
感谢观看本集《科学秀》
And if you want to learn about ways
如果你想了解更多
to make this planet a better, less-polluted place,
使这个星球变得更美 污染更少的方法
you might like our video about how engineers and research groups
可以看我们关于海洋清洁的节目
are working on ways to clean up our oceans.
了解工程师和研究人员们的方法
You can watch that right after this.
你可以在这之后看看那个
[音乐]

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视频概述

介绍了一些白色污染造成的后果,以及研究人员的研究过程

听录译者

收集自网络

翻译译者

猫头熊熊

审核员

审核员 V

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4uefUtvLpc

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