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(Image credit: A.J.B. Lane)

A once-in-a-century wave that pummeled a cargo ship in 1997 caused the worst toy-related environmental disaster of all time. As the vessel Tokio Express pitched and rolled near the United Kingdom’s southwestern coast, 62 shipping containers tumbled off the ship — and one of them dumped nearly 5 million plastic Lego pieces into the ocean.

Soon after the event, which some referred to as the Great Lego Spill, beachgoers in Cornwall, U.K., began finding brightly-colored plastic Legos. Even now, 25 years after the Feb. 13 disaster, numerous Legos from the spill still appear on beaches in Cornwall.

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