If you’re a person of a certain age (ahem), then you, like me, might have owned a Garfield phone during the halcyon days of your youth. It had Garfield’s trademark bored/sardonic smile (no lasagna in sight, I guess) and the receiver was a fatty, curved part of his spine.
Well, since the mid-1980s, broken pieces of the phone have been washing up on the shores in Brittany, France. No one knew or could find out where they were coming from – and with nearly 200 pieces found in the span of a year, the seemingly endless supply troubled environmentalists.
They, like locals, suspected that there might be a lost, sunken shipping container somewhere offshore, but no one had ever been able to find it. And the environmental group Ar Viltansou, along with its president, Claire Simonin-Le Meur, have been searching:
“We were looking for it, but we had no precise idea of where it could be. We thought it was under the sea. We asked people who were divers to look for it. We get a lot of submarines in the area, too – it’s a military area. But they said it was not possible the container could be there and nobody saw it.”
Then, Simonin-Le Mur caught a break – a local farmer approached to explain that 30 years ago he’d spotted a cave filled with phones while out exploring. Excited, the environmentalist and a group of journalists ventured out to the cave, where they solved the mystery!
Inside were more pieces of the phones and a broken, empty shipping container.
“I saw Garfield and container pieces all over the cave. But the bulk of the phones are already gone, the sea has done its job for thirty years. We arrived after the battle,” she told Le Monde.
While it seems the majority of Garfield phone pieces have already been washed away, Simonin-Le Mur hopes the story will generate interest in cleaning the oceans around the world. According to the Ocean Conservancy, 8 million metric tons of plastics find their way to the oceans every year, in addition to the estimated 150 million metric tons of material that’s currently circulating through aquatic habitats.
I miss my phone. I sure hope it didn’t end up in the ocean.