On the quaint coast of Cornwall, near the town of Perranporth, there's a beach that's constantly covered in Lego. Tiny flippers, little plastic dragons, a brick here and there—these pieces have been washing ashore since a shipping accident in 1997 sent 4.8 million pieces into the sea nearby. And one-by-one, out they come.

Funnily enough, the majority of the many millions of Lego are actually nautical-themed. The manifest for the ill-fated Tokio Express container ship indicates that there are some 418,000 of those flippers and 33,941 of the dragons. There are also 13,000 spear guns, 97,500 scuba sets, and 4,200 black octopi. "These days the holy grail is an octopus or a dragon," local resident and collector Tracey Williams recently told the BBC. "I only know of three octopuses being found, and one was by me, in a cave in Challaborough, Devon. It's quite competitive."


While there's certainly something whimsical about millions of toys appearing on a quiet beach, the fact that countless pounds of plastic—even if it's Lego plastic!—is floating around the ocean is obviously a problem. The Lego container was only one of 62 shipping containers that fell off the Tokio Express ship, and that's just a drop in the bucket compared to the 10,000 or so shipping containers lost as sea every year. The oceans are so full of plastic, scientists don't even know where 99 percent of it is.

Some of it is definitely in Cornwall. However, experts say that in the 17 years since the Lego splashed into its watery grave, it's possible that the bricks and trinkets could've floated onto any beach in the world. So keep your eyes peeled for a little Lego Octopus. It could make you a local hero in Perranporth. [BBC]


Images via Tracey Williams / Facebook

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