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|作者：英语点津 文章来源：China Daily 点击数：59 更新时间：2017/3/22|
A scientist has filmed the moment plastic microfibre is ingested by plankton, illustrating how the material is affecting life beneath the waves.
The footage shows one way that waste plastic could be entering the marine and global food chain.
An estimated 150 million tonnes of plastic "disappears" from the world's waste stream each year.
Waste plastic in the world's seas has been recognised by the United Nations as a major environmental problem.
"When I saw it, I thought that here was something, visually, to convey to the public the problem of plastic in the sea," said Richard Kirby, who recorded the footage.
"What intrigues me is that because the fibre has made a loop inside the animal's gut, you can actually see the consequences of something as small as the arrow worm consuming microplastic.
Dr Kirby said that people were familiar with the idea of large marine animals - such as whales, seals and birds - swallowing plastic bags.
"But here we have something where we actually see that at a tiny fibre has caused a blockage in something as small as a Sagitta setosa, a member of the plankton, stopping food progressing down.
The United Nations has estimated that there are 46,000 pieces of waste plastic per square mile of sea.
The issue of plastic waste in the marine environment has been rising up the political and policy agenda.
The international body's environment agency, UNEP, has launched a #CleanSeas campaign.
The organisation's head, Erik Solheim, said: "We've stood by too long as the problem has gotten worse. It must stop. "
The UN estimated that as many as 51 trillion (500 times as many stars estimated to be in our galaxy) particles of microplastic are in the world's seas and oceans.
The widespread presence of plastic in our waters meant that it was a problem for arrow worms, said Emily Baxter, senior marine conservation officer for the North West Wildlife Trusts.
"They play a really important ecological role in the marine food web. They are voracious predators of other planktonic animals and also represent an important food source for fish, squid and other things that eat plankton."
"Even if we stopped producing plastic today this problem is going to continue for a long time. We see it now coming into the bottom of the food chain and potentially affecting the food chain all the way up," she said.
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