经济学人:清理海洋垃圾 (01)

Few things exercise green sensibilities more these days than marine plastic litter.

如今没有什么能像海洋塑料垃圾那样更能唤醒人们的环保意识。

The detritus looks unsightly when it washes up on beaches, and cruel when it chokes photogenic sea creatures.

这些垃圾被冲到沙滩上时的画面很不雅观,海洋生物被垃圾卡住的照片让人觉得不忍。

Scientists estimate that perhaps 8m tonnes of plastic waste enters the ocean each year, discharged by rivers or shed from ships.

科学家认为每年约有8百万公吨塑料垃圾流入海洋,这些垃圾来自河流或船只。

Plenty stays close to shore. Some, though, is carried by currents to mid-ocean gyres.

大量的垃圾堆积在海岸附近。一些垃圾在水流的作用下流入海洋中部环流。

The biggest of these is located halfway between California and Hawaii—

其中最大的环流位于加利福尼亚和夏威夷之间—

and so littered with flotsam that it has been nicknamed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

由于四处飘散的垃圾,这片区域被称为太平洋垃圾带。

A study published last March in Scientific Reports by Laurent LeBreton of the Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch charity, and colleagues,

去年3月,荷兰慈善机构Ocean Cleanup的Laurent LeBreton和同事在《科学报告》中发表的研究发现

found that it contains between 45,000 and 129,000 tonnes of plastic debris spread over an area roughly the size of Alaska.

这片区域有45,000至129,000公吨的塑料垃圾,漂浮面积与阿拉斯加州面积相当。

The idea of sweeping it all up might sound fanciful. To Boyan Slat it seemed merely ambitious.

清除所有垃圾的想法或许听起来不可思议。对博扬·斯拉特而言,他对这个想法雄心勃勃。

What if, he wondered in 2012 (then aged 18), you could build a massive bow-shaped floating barrier,

2012年的时候(当时他18岁),他就想可不可以建造一个大型弓状浮动挡板

anchor it to the seabed and let currents shuffle the litter into the scoop?

将它抛到海底并让海流将垃圾冲到凹槽里。

Despite his youthful age and madcap scheme, Mr Slat set up the Ocean Cleanup to put it into practice.

虽然他年纪小且他的计划很狂妄,但是斯拉特成立了Ocean Cleanup将想法变成了现实。

Six years, 20m euros ($23m) and several prototypes later, the device set sail from San Francisco on September 8th,

6年时间里,在投入了2千万欧元(2300万美元)并建造了几个模型后,该设备最终于9月8日,

escorted by a Coast Guard vessel, a shipload of camera crews and a flotilla of curious boaters.

在一艘缉私船、摄制组以及好奇船客组成的小舰队的护送下,从旧金山起航。

System 001, as the contraption has been christened, is a hollow cylinder 600 metres long and 1.2 metres in diameter, itself made of plastic (polyethylene).

由于该设备设计精巧所以起名为System 001。System 001是一个空心圆柱体,长600米,直径1.2米,本身由塑料(聚乙烯)制成。

It was moulded together into a seamless whole from 12-metre segments at a shipyard across the San Francisco Bay in Oakland.

该设备由12米长的断面铸成一个无接缝的整体,建造地是一家船厂横跨奥克兰旧金山湾。

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