#2. The Glass Beaches of Fort Bragg
For the better half of the 20th century, citizens of Fort Bragg, California, enjoyed glorious views of the majestic Pacific. Then it occurred to them: You know what majesty is really, really good for? Getting rid of garbage!
You can't spell "back for the garbage" without "Fort Bragg Beach" ... and "a," "k," and "e."
So they started shoving all of their refuse off of the cliffs, right into the water. When the tide didn't pull it away into the mysterious and exotic land of "not my fucking problem anymore," residents just set the garbage on fire and let the ocean take the ashes. Now, this is the part of the anime where Mother Nature manifests as some sort of giant spectral elk vengeance spirit to teach us all a lesson about the tenuous balance of life. But not this time: This time she took all the broken glass, churned it up beneath the waves, and spat back jewels.
Yes, years of neglect and disrespect, and now the residents of Fort Bragg are getting exactly what they deserve: a booming tourist attraction!
Where tons of garbage once covered the shore, the waves have now smoothed and polished the formerly jagged shards into harmless, rounded, multi-colored fun. You can totally walk around barefoot, or just stick your hand in, giggling at how utterly we have conquered and humiliated the natural world.
Or go shit in the ocean and see what comes back.
#1. Where Cargo Ships Go to Die
Look at that noble fleet! Who knows what sacred duties they are tasked with: protecting a country? Delivering vital goods to the world? Just kind of sitting there, silently rusting into oblivion?
Yep, it's the latter.
Leaking toxic waste is a sacred duty, kind of.
Those aren't just any old boats, either. They're cargo ships, each weighing hundreds of thousands of tons, and this section of coast just happens to be the rubbish bin where we throw away our mega vessels. It all started back in 1965, when a storm stranded a freighter on a beach in Chittagong in Bangladesh. Instead of trying to get the ship back into the water or raising a fuss until somebody hauled the eyesore away, the locals began hacking away at it, looting it for scrap metal. The rest of the world stood up and took notice: Those suckers want our gargantuan uber-garbage? OK then:
To be fair, it needs to be done. All ships get scrapped eventually. It's just that if you want to take care of it in places like Europe or America, you've got to follow these pansy "environmental regulations," put the ships in dry dock, and then pay a small fortune for their dismantling. Whereas in Bangladesh, you can essentially just kill a bottle of Shipcrasher's rum, full-steam your boat into the shoreline, and drunkenly stumble away, all for the cost of a few well-placed bribes. Hell, they'll even pay you for the privilege of dismantling it.
And for the barnacles. Men earning $3 a day find them delicious.
See that white speck, bottom center? That's a person. That's the staggering scale of these behemoths, and hundreds of them wash up every single year on this beach, where scavengers swarm them like ants taking down an elephant:
These guys chill on the beach every day with boats. We kind of envy them.
But don't go thinking it's an ideal solution or anything: Dozens of workers die every year in the shipyards. Some are crushed to death, some inhale toxic fumes, and sometimes blowtorches will set fuel alight, causing a whole ship to explode. Hey, Treat Williams seemed to make it out unscathed in Deep Rising; we're sure the Bangladeshis have plenty of emergency jet skis on hand.
Yosomono writes for Gaijinass.com, who also have a Facebook page that you should LIKE. Ryan Menezes is a writer and layout editor here at Cracked. Follow him on Twitter. Richie Ryan occasionally works the wood. See his things. You can also follow him on Twitter if that's your thing.
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