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Long-life intruders

While studying urban pollution in a riparian forest in the Campinas region of the state of São Paulo, a group led by chemist Cassiana Montagner came across a highly visible example of the permanence of plastic: an old soda bottle engulfed by a tree. The bottle was completely trapped within the plant. It must have been left at the foot of the tree between two and three years earlier, the researcher estimates. The pollutants she studies are often smaller, often broken down into microscopic pieces. For her, the image is symbolic of the longevity of plastic and the harm it can cause to the environment.

Image submitted by Cassiana Montagner, a professor at the Chemistry Institute of the University of Campinas (UNICAMP)