剑桥雅思14Test4Passage3阅读原文翻译 Chelsea Rochman 海洋废弃物
剑桥雅思14 Test4 Passage3阅读原文翻译
Chelsea Rochman, an ecologist at the University of California, Davis, has been trying to answer a dismal question: Is everything terrible, or are things just very, very bad?
Rochman is a member of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis marine-debris working group, a collection of scientists who study, among other things, the growing problem of marine debris, also known as ocean trash. Plenty of studies have sounded alarm bells about the state of marine debris; in a recent paper published in the journal Ecology, Rochman and her colleagues set out to determine how many of those perceived risks are real.
Often, Rochman says, scientists will end a paper by speculating about the broader impacts of what they’ve found. For example, a study could show that certain seabirds eat plastic bags, and go on to warn that whole bird populations are at risk of dying out. ‘But the truth was that nobody had yet tested those perceived threats,’ Rochman says. ‘There wasn’t a lot of information.’
Rochman and her colleagues examined more than a hundred papers on the impacts of marine debris that were published through 2013. Within each paper, they asked what threats scientists had studied -366 perceived threats in all – and what they’d actually found.
Rochman和她的同事检验了2013年全年发表的有关海洋垃圾影响的一百多篇论文。每篇文章中，他们探询科学家研究的威胁是什么 – 共有366种威胁被注意到 – 以及他们实际发现了什么。
In 83 percent of cases, the perceived dangers of ocean trash were proven true. In the remaining cases, the working group found the studies had weaknesses in design and content which affected the validity of their conclusions – they lacked a control group, for example, or used faulty statistics.
Strikingly, Rochman says, only one well-designed study failed to find the effect it was looking for, an investigation of mussels ingesting microscopic plastic bits. The plastic moved from the mussels’ stomachs to their bloodstreams, scientists found, and stayed there for weeks – but didn’t seem to stress out the shellfish.
While mussels may be fine eating trash, though, the analysis also gave a clearer picture of the many ways that ocean debris is bothersome.
Within the studies they looked at, most of the proven threats came from plastic debris, rather than other materials like metal or wood. Most of the dangers also involved large pieces of debris – animals getting entangled in trash, for example, or eating it and severely injuring themselves.
在他们检验的研究中，大多数被证实的威胁来自塑料废弃物，而不是诸如金属或者木头等其他材料。大部分危险同时也包括大件垃圾 – 例如，动物可能被垃圾缠住，或者误食之后给自己造成严重伤害。
But a lot of ocean debris is ‘microplastic’, or pieces smaller than five millimeters. These may be ingredients used in cosmetics and toiletries, fibers shed by synthetic clothing in the wash, or eroded remnants of larger debris. Compared to the number of studies investigating large-scale debris, Rochman’s group found little research on the effects of these tiny bits. ‘There are a lot of open questions still for microplastic,’ Rochman says, though she notes that more papers on the subject have been published since 2013, the cutoff point for the group’s analysis.
There are also, she adds, a lot of open questions about the ways that ocean debris can lead to sea-creature death. Many studies have looked at how plastic affects an individual animal, or that animal’s tissues or cells, rather than whole populations. And in the lab, scientists often use higher concentrations of plastic than what’s really in the ocean. None of that tells us how many birds or fish or sea turtles could die from plastic pollution – or how deaths in one species could affect that animal’s predators, or the rest of the ecosystem.
她补充到，在海洋垃圾如何导致海洋生物死亡方面也有许多等待回答的问题。许多研究关注塑料如何影响个体动物，或者该动物的组织或细胞，而不是整个群体。实验室中，科学家经常使用比海洋真实情况聚集程度更高的塑料。所有这些都不能告诉我们有多少鸟类、鱼类或者海龟死于塑料污染 – 或者某一物种的死亡如何影响该动物的捕食者，或者生态系统中的其他物种。
‘We need to be asking more ecologically relevant questions,’ Rochman says. Usually, scientists don’t know exactly how disasters such as a tanker accidentally spilling its whole cargo of oil and polluting huge areas of the ocean will affect the environment until after they’ve happened. ‘We don’t ask the right questions early enough,’ she says. But if ecologists can understand how the slow-moving effect of ocean trash is damaging ecosystems, they might be able to prevent things from getting worse.
Asking the right questions can help policy makers, and the public, figure out where to focus their attention. The problems that look or sound most dramatic may not be the best places to start. For example, the name of the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ – a collection of marine debris in the northern Pacific Ocean – might conjure up a vast, floating trash island. In reality though, much of the debris is tiny or below the surface; a person could sail through the area without seeing any trash at all. A Dutch group called ‘The Ocean Cleanup’ is currently working on plans to put mechanical devices in the Pacific Garbage Patch and similar areas to suck up plastic. But a recent paper used simulations to show that strategically positioning the cleanup devices closer to shore would more effectively reduce pollution over the long term.
提出正确的问题可以帮助政策制定者和公众弄清楚应该将自己的注意力放在哪里。看起来或者听起来最严重的问题可能并不是最佳的着手指出。例如，“太平洋大垃圾带”这样的名字 – 太平洋北部的一批垃圾 – 可能让人想起巨大的、漂浮着的垃圾岛屿。但实际上，这些垃圾中的大部分都很微小或者位于海洋表面之下。一个人可以乘船穿过该区域而看不到任何垃圾。一个叫做“海洋清理”的荷兰团体目前正在制定计划。他们打算在太平洋垃圾带和类似的区域中放置机械装置以吸附塑料。但近期的一篇论文通过模拟表明，长期来看，有策略地将清洁装置放在靠近海岸的地方可以更加有效的减少污染。
‘I think clearing up some of these misperceptions is really important,’ Rochman says. Among scientists as well as in the media, she says, ‘A lot of the images about strandings and entanglement and all of that cause the perception that plastic debris is killing everything in the ocean.’ Interrogating the existing scientific literature can help ecologists figure out which problems really need addressing, and which ones they’d be better off – like the mussels – absorbing and ignoring.