Garfield phones wash up on France's coast for decades before divers figure out exactly why

PLOUARZEL, France -- Decades after plastic landline telephones shaped like orange cartoon cat Garfield began to wash up on French shores, locals believe they've finally gotten to the bottom of the strange phenomenon.

Divers from Ar Viltansou, a conservation group in Brittany, recently located the remains of a shipping container that presumably carried a load of the novelty telephones, confirming the long-held suspicions of coastal residents.

A diver who first found the container not long after it apparently fell into the ocean in the 1980s directed conservationists to the wreckage. Ar Viltansou head Claire Simonin told the AFP news agency that the container was wedged in a cave and could only be accessed during low tide.

"We found this incredible fissure that is 30 meters deep and at the very bottom, there were the remains of a container," Simonin told the AFP. "Under the boulders in front of the entrance, we found 23 complete handsets with electronics and wires. They were everywhere."

The circumstances surrounding the shipping container's journey to the bottom of the ocean are still unclear, though the diver who originally found the container said he located it after a severe storm hit the area. Environmentalists warned that the scores of plastic phones that have survived decades of ocean currents are just one example of the threat that resilient plastic pollution poses to marine ecosystems.