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随身英语

Plastic problem 塑料带来的问题

塑料是我们生活中不可缺少的一种原材料。我们用它制作像购物袋、瓶子或包装等等的日常用品。但那些被我们丢弃的塑料制品最后往往会被倒入海洋中,而事实证明此做法给野生动植物的生存带来极大的挑战。本集《随身英语》讨论塑料给环境带来的影响和问题。

课文内容

Vocabulary: the environment 词汇: 环境

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?

词汇表

plastic carrier bag 塑料购物袋
ubiquitous 感觉无处不在的
blight (使)破坏
wildlife 野生动植物
acute 十分严重的
be littered with 在公共场合到处乱扔垃圾
density 密度
debris 碎片
sink 池子,坑
impacted 受影响的
disposable culture 丢弃文化
durable 持久的
decompose (使)分解
ecology 生态
particle 微粒
ingest 咽下,摄取
recyclable 可回收利用的
spare a thought for somebody 替某人着想

测验与练习

1. 阅读课文并回答问题。

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. 请你在不参考课文的情况下完成下列练习。选择一个意思合适的单词填入句子的空格处。

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. 阅读课文并回答问题。

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. 请你在不参考课文的情况下完成下列练习。选择一个意思合适的单词填入句子的空格处。

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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