Mystery Solved: Why “Garfield” phones have littered France’s beaches for 30 years


  • For 30 years, locals have wondered where Garfield-designed landline phones that have been washing up on their beaches at Finistere, came from.
  • At last, they found out that they came from a container that must have fallen from some ship during a storm in the 80s.
  • The container that was found jammed at the bottom of a partially flooded cave by a group of beach cleaners named Ar Viltansou also found handsets complete with wires and electronics.

“Garfield” novelty phones have been washing up on the beaches of northern Finistere in France for over 30 years now much to the bewilderment of the locals. They finally solved the mystery behind them.

Clare Simonin, the head of Ar Viltansou, a local beach cleaning group in Brittany said that for the 18 years since their organization operated, they have found fragments of Garfield telephones almost every time they clean.

It wasn’t until a local resident told them that he had discovered a shipping container crammed in a partially submerged cave.

After an operation to locate it, Simonin told AFP that the site where the container sits on is “very, very dangerous” and only accessible during low tide. She said that they found the container at the bottom of a fissure that is 100 feet deep. They also found 23 complete handsets modeled on the feline cartoon character with electronics and wires everywhere under the boulders fronting the entrance of the cave.

However, the mystery isn’t completely solved.

“We have no idea what happened at the time; we do not know what boat it came from. And we don’t know if several containers fell into the water, or only one,” said Director Fabien Boileau of the Iroise Marine Nature Park in Finistere.

Container ships coming from Asia and elsewhere that head to main European ports like Calais, Antwerp or Rotterdam usually pass through the northwestern coast of France.

The ship “Grande America” that sank west at the town of La Rochelle in March spilled 2,000 cars and 365 containers, 45 of which contained dangerous materials, into the ocean.

Meanwhile, the findings in France underscore the scourge of plastic pollution which in recent years has become the subject of a major global environmental problem.

More than 300 million tons of plastic are currently produced across the globe, with at least 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans, according to estimates by scientists. For this, forecasts say that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the seas.

According to a newly published research, plastics have even reached into the bowels of the planet due to plastic bits found in the gut of animals living in the deepest ocean trenches.


Source: CBS News

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