shard, exfoliater, stain, sythetic, nylon, strand, discharge, plankton, stool, linen
the Great Lakes：北美五大湖。是世界最大的淡水湖群，总蓄水量约占全世界淡水湖总量的1/5。包括苏必利尔湖(Lake Superior)、密歇根湖(Lake Michigan)、休伦湖(Lake Huron)、伊利湖(Lake Erie)和安大略湖(Lake Ontario)。
the Great Lakes
single-use plastic item：一次性塑料制品
sewage treatment plant：污水处理厂。污水处理工艺分三级：一级处理是物理处理，通过机械处理，分离并去除污水中所含的污染物；二级处理是生物化学处理，利用微生物将污染物降解和转化为污泥；三级处理是对污水的深度处理，以过滤吸附水中剩余的污染物。
(it all) adds up：积少成多。原文指即便一件化纤衣物掉不了多少毛，但穿化纤衣物的人多了，排放到海洋中的microplastics的总量依然惊人。
make one's way up the food chain：指微型塑料颗粒从浮游生物开始，顺着食物链最终进入人体，这个过程其实就是bioaccumulation，即生物富集。
synthetic fiber: 合成纤维。尼龙(Nylon)是世界上出现的第一种合成纤维，制成的衣物廉价而舒适。常见的合成纤维还包括涤纶(polyester)、腈纶(acrylic)等等。与天然纤维相比，合成纤维的原料是由人工合成方法制得的，生产不受自然条件的限制。
植物纤维plant fiber，口误又说了一次natural fiber。
We hear a lot on the news about single-use plastic items like plastic straws and shopping bags that are polluting the oceans. It’s true. But most of the plastic pieces in the oceans don’t look like that. They are actually small particles, smaller than 5 millimeters. They are what we call micro-plastics, and they are everywhere. The concentration is highest in the Great Lakes in North America, rivers in Britain, and the coastal beach on South Africa. Some of the micro-plastics are shards broken off larger items that we’ve mentioned before. Some of them are micro-beads developed for use in personal care. For example, there are micro-beads in exfoliators that are supposed to move our dead skin. And there are micro-beads in toothpastes to remove tooth stains. But most of the micro-plastics are actually micro-fibers. So why are there fibers in the oceans?
Well, back in the 1940s, synthetic fabrics made from plastic, like nylon, became really popular among consumers because they are cheap to produce and comfortable to wear. By 2010, about half of our clothing was made from synthetic fibers. If you take a close look at a piece of synthetic clothes, you will see that the fabric is just tiny plastic strands woven together. And when you wash the clothes, the strands will be pulled loose, and the micro-fibers will fall out. Most of our washing machines do not have a filter, so everything, including the micro-fibers, is just flushed down the drain. The micro-fibers might move through a sewage treatment plant, which of course has a filter. But usually, the filter is just too large to stop the micro-fibers from passing through and being discharged into a nearby, let’s say, river or lake. So eventually the micro-fibers end up in the ocean. Although fiber loss goes down after a few washes, the sheer number of people wearing synthetic clothes and washing them simply adds up. As a result, there are currently 5 trillion pieces of micro-plastics floating around in our oceans.
When the micro-plastics reach the oceans, they will be first consumed by plankton. And from there, they start to make their way up the food chain, and eventually reach us. Actually, a lot of the seafood we eat contain micro-plastics. So when we eat the seafood, the micro-plastics enter our bodies. I’m not exaggerating here. A study conducted in Austria recently has just proven that there are plastics in our bodies. The study involves stool samples, collected from eight countries around the world. The study found plastics in every single sample. To be more specific, the scientists identified a total of nine different kinds of plastics in the samples. So apparently this is an issue that we all need to take seriously, which leads to the question: What should we do about it?