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Pollution reaches new height

珠峰顶部附近发现微塑料

科技 来源:21世纪学生英文报·高二
时间:2020-12-22
【导读】地球现在还剩几块净土?继地球最深处马里亚纳海沟发现微塑料后,珠穆朗玛峰峰顶附近也发现微塑料。这种小于5毫米的塑料碎片随人类活动影响、空气传播等方式,入侵人迹罕至之地。

People collect and sort garbage near Mount Qomolangma’s base camp in May. VCG

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Plastic pollution has long been a problem, but now it’s gotten to a new height – literally.
塑料污染一直是个问题,但现在确实已经上升到了新的高度。

Microplastics, referring to plastic fragments and particles less than 5 millimeters in diameter, have been found on Mount Qomolangma as high as 8,440 meters above sea level, just 408.86 meters below the peak of the mountain, according to a recent study published in the journal One Earth.
最近发表在《One Earth》期刊上的一项研究表明,在珠穆拉玛峰海拔8440米处发现了微塑料,这是一种直径不足5毫米的塑料碎片与微粒,距离珠峰峰顶仅408.86米。

“These are the highest microplastics [ever] discovered so far,” lead author Imogen Napper from the University of Plymouth, UK, said in a statement.
“这是迄今为止发现的地处位置最高的微塑料,”该研究的第一作者、英国普利茅斯大学的伊莫金·纳珀在一份声明中称。

Scientists collected snow and water samples from 19 different locations from 4,200 meters above sea level all the way up to the summit of Mount Qomolangma. They found microplastics in all the water samples and part of the snow samples. The most polluted sample was from the Base Camp in Nepal, where most human activity on the mountain is concentrated. It had 79 particles of microplastics per liter of snow.
科学家从珠峰海拔4200米处出发,沿着登顶路线从19个不同地点采集了积雪和溪水样本。他们发现在所有溪水样本和部分积雪样本中都存在微塑料。污染最严重的样本来自尼泊尔境内的珠峰大本营,那里是珠峰上人类活动最集中的地方。每升积雪中含有79个塑料微粒。

But how have these fragments made it all this way and in such a great abundance? The answer is apparent – human activities. It is climbers who bring plastic products to the mountain. Even if they don’t litter, just walking for 20 minutes or opening a bottle of water can release microplastics into the environment.
但这些大量的微粒又是如何到达珠峰的呢?答案显而易见——人类活动。正是登山者将塑料制品带到了山上。即便他们没有扔垃圾,仅仅步行20分钟或打开一瓶水也能向环境中释放微塑料。

The harsh fact is that plastic pollution has reached even the most remote places on Earth. Researchers even found a plastic bag at the deepest point in the world’s oceans – in the Mariana Trench, located in the Pacific Ocean. The bag is the same as the ones commonly used in grocery stores.
残酷的事实是,塑料污染已经到达了地球上最遥远的地方。研究者甚至在全球海洋最深处—— 位于太平洋的马里亚纳海沟发现了一个塑料袋。这个袋子和杂货店常用的袋子一模一样。

Even covered in ice, the Arctic is still a victim of plastic pollution. A 2020 report published in Nature suggests that there are 2,000 to 17,000 plastic particles per cubic meter in Arctic ice cores, and between 0 to 18 microplastic particles per cubic meter from the water beneath ice floes. Experts think microplastics may be transported by air and then reach the North Pole in snowfall.
即便被冰雪覆盖,北极也难逃塑料污染之害。《自然》期刊2020年发表的一份报告显示,每立方米北极冰芯中有2000到17000个塑料颗粒,浮冰下每立方米水中有0到18个微塑料颗粒。专家认为微塑料或许是通过空气运输,再经过降雪落到北极。

“What we don’t yet fully know is the potential problems these tiny pieces of plastic could be having to ecosystems, to organisms and even to our own health as well,” said Christian Dunn of Bangor University, UK.
“这些微小的塑料碎片可能会对生态系统、微生物乃至我们的自身健康造成什么样的潜在问题,我们还无法完全知晓,”英国班戈大学的克里斯蒂安·邓恩表示。

Then what can we do? “We need to start focusing on deeper technological solutions that focus on microplastics, like changing fabric design and incorporating natural fibers instead of plastic when possible,” Napper said.
那我们能做什么?“我们需要开始关注微塑料相关的更深入的技术解决方案上,如改变面料设计,尽可能使用天然纤维代替塑料,”纳珀说。

(Translator & Editor: Wang Yue (Intern) AND Wang Xingwei)
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辞海拾贝
Fragments碎片
Particles微粒
Diameter直径
Samples样本
Summit顶峰
Liter
Harsh残酷的
Cubic meter立方米
Ice floes浮冰
Organisms微生物
Fabric织物
Incorporating加入

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