You've seen sea turtles stuck in six-pack rings. But how about a shark stuck inside a LEGO piece? The latest sad case of plastic ravaging marine life emerged last week in England.
Forty-eight year-old Ian Jepson lives in a town called Newquay in southwest England, and has been a lobster and crab pot fisherman for 32 years. In late August, Jepson pulled in a depressing catch while he was fishing, according to Cornwall Live.
It was a dogfish shark stuck inside a LEGO piece.
Jepson posted a photo of the animal on Twitter, calling attention to the issue of plastic pollution.
He added that, as a fisherman, he and his crew see and bring in plastic most days they are out on the water. But never before had he seen a fish stuck inside a LEGO piece.
In 1997, a container ship called the Tokio Express was hit by a freak wave about 20 miles off the coast of England. According to the BBC, the captain of the ship described the wave as a "once-in-a-100-year phenomenon." The ship didn't capsize, but it did tilt about 60 degrees one way and then 40 degrees back, causing 62 containers to fall into the ocean.
One of those containers was filled with about 4.8 million LEGO pieces that were destined for New York. Ever since those LEGOs went into the ocean, they've been washing up on beaches in the English county of Cornwall, the southern-most and western-most county in the nation.
Newquay is also located in Cornwall. Although it's impossible to know for sure, there's a pretty high likelihood that the LEGO piece that ensnared this fish came from that lost 1997 shipment.
The 1997 LEGO incident demonstrates how simply producing plastic products can potentially be harmful to the environment, even if we do not intend for them to end up in the ocean.
The only foolproof way to keep plastic out of the ocean is to not produce it in the first place. If we want to save our oceans, we need to start switching to non-plastic alternatives for our water bottles, food containers, toys and more.