Beachcombers on the small German island of Langeogg have this week been rewarded with a bonanza of Lego and the small plastic toys found in Kinder eggs.
Tens of thousands of the toys washed up on the island, most likely from containers lost by a Maersk ship during the storm yesterday.
Although the plastic bounty has been the cause of great joy among children on the island, the tiny plastic parts are not good for the environment.
“It’s not so funny anymore,” Mayor Uwe Garrels told German broadcaster NRD. “It’s hit the local ecology hard and can be harmful to animals.”
Along with the toys, bicycle tyres, computer connectors, network cables and plastic bags have washed up on the island’s beaches.
A large team of volunteers made up of inhabitants of the island and tourists have been working to clean up the debris left behind by the five containers lost by the ship. The mess needs to be gathered up before the next high tide sweeps it all back out to sea.
The kids that snagged some of the toys have taken them home, but the ownership of the rest of the booty – along with the responsibility for the cost of the clean-up – has yet to be established, according to local authorities.
“I suppose that the containers have sunk rapidly, for they have not been seen,” said Tobias Linke from the German shipping authorities.