For 30 Years ‘Garfield’ Phones have been Washing up on French Beach

Orange, plastic and hungry for lasagna, his self-satisfied face was stuck in a permanent grin. Sometimes he came intact. Other times, he was in pieces or badly coated in grime.

For 30 years, Garfield the cat novelty phones kept washing up on the beaches of France. Nearly 200 phones and phone pieces washed ashore within a 15-mile stretch of beach near Brest in 2018 alone.

Why, locals wondered, did Phone Garfield live in seemingly endless numbers off the coast of Brittany? French environmentalists sought an answer, hoping to finally stop the relentless, if whimsical, pollution. An anti-littering group called Ar Vilantsou started a media blitz about the phones, which caught the attention of a local farmer. That man remembered a stormy day in the 1980s; from that day on, phones appeared on the beaches with some regularity. The farmer contacted Ar Vilantsou and told them about the incident. He also recalled, tucked away in some sea caves, a container that blew off the ship that day.

So, curious anti-littering crusaders followed the farmer into the sea cave. There, they found the remnants of a broken shipping container. All around were more pieces of Phone Garfield. At last, they’d found the breeding ground of their orange mystery. “This is the first time in our lives that we’ve seen that,” Ar Vilantsou’s Claire Simonin-Le Meur told reporters. Alas, while the mystery is solved, the problem is not. Garfield will continue to wash up on the shore, because the container is wedged in an inaccessible spot.

A plastic 'Garfield' phone is displayed on the beach on March 30, 2019 in Le Conquet, western France. - For more than 30 years, plastic phones in the shape of the famous cat 'Garfield' have been washing up on French beaches. The mystery is now solved : a shipping container which washed up during a storm in the 1980s, was found in a hidden sea cave.

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