The Environment: How microplastics affect fish
Here’s a summary of a key IELTS issue with key vocabulary in BOLD.
When you do IELTS Practice tests, you will see that the same vocabulary comes up again and again in the Reading and Listening Tests.
When you know something about the topic it is often easier to predict words that come up in the gap-fills without even listening!
Microplastics are killing fish before they reach reproductive age, a study finds
Research shows that tiny particles of plastic litter in oceans are causing deaths, stunted growth and altering the behaviour of some fish that feed on them
Fish are dying before they are MATURE (old) enough to REPRODUCE (have babies) because they eat TINY PARTICLES (very small bits) of plastic.
These MICROPLASTICS are a PERIL (danger) to fish because they are almost INDESTRUCTIBLE (unable to be destroyed, NON-BIODEGRADABLE). They get stuck in the young fish’s stomach and fish STARVES (dies through lack of food).
VAST (huge, very large) amounts of plastics enter the oceans through LITTER (rubbish, trash) that we DISCARD (throw away) every day, such as plastic bags.
Another GROWING (increasing) source is microbeads, which we use in modern skin CLEANSERS (soaps). They can last for DECADES (= 10 years).
It is a GROWING SOURCE OF CONCERN (issue to worry about). Seabirds, fish and whales SWALLOW (eat) the materials but cannot DIGEST them, LEADING TO (resulting in ) a build-up in their DIGESTIVE systems.
Fish who eat these plastics have increased MORTALITY (death) RATES, and behaviour that could ENDANGER their SURVIVAL (put them at risk of death). They become slower and more easily caught by PREDATORS (animals which eat them).
The plastics are found IN ABUNDANCE (in large quantities) in shallow coastal areas.
The impact is likely to be FAR-REACHING and LONG-LASTING. The effects on AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS (the natural wildlife system of rivers, lakes and oceans) could be PROFOUND (very serious).
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Adapted from The Guardian Fiona Harvey 02 June 2016
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