This article originally appeared on 01.06.16
Ever wonder what winds up at the bottom of a canal after 15 years?
For the first time since 2001, the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris was drained so it could be cleaned, and the photos of the operation do a pretty neat job of answering that question.
The project began on Monday, Jan. 4, and is expected to continue for the next three months, according to a report in The Guardian.
A lot of what workers have found so far is kind of fascinating. And definitely not pretty. It’s either the remains of the most off-the-wall holiday party ever or a real-time look at a decade and a half of pollution.
1. Here’s what the canal looks like on an ordinary day.
What are you hiding, canal? What. Are. You. Hiding?
2. To start the drainage process, a dam was lowered into the canal.
Presumably, there are dozens of dudes just out of frame, muttering, “I could lift that,” to each other.
3. Then, before anything else could happen, workers had to go in and dig out all the fish.
Here, fishy fishy fishy! The canal cleaners remove the fish the old fashioned way — by catching them by hand with long nets. According to a Vice News report, the deadline for all the fish to be extracted is Friday.
4. And carry them gently to safety…
5. …where a full accounting was made of all the fish.
The fish are weighed and identified before they’re relocated. Not a particularly comfortable set-up for the fish, but far better than the alternative.
6. Meanwhile, clean-up crews got to check out all the cool, gross stuff the canal had been hiding, including … a suitcase.
Best/worst. Work. Party. Ever.
7. A traffic cone.
8. A shopping cart.
“I said three heads of garlic and FIVE lemons!!!”
9. An office chair.
Seriously. I am so bummed I missed this company holiday party.
12. …and more bikes.
Stop pushing your bikes into the river, people!
13. A couple of upturned tables.
14. A shopping bag, a chair, and some sort of bedspring(?).
15. A dolly.
I feel this way at the end of a big move too, tbh.
Seriously?? I’d have taken them.
17. A pile of bikes.
I’m starting to sense a pattern here…
18. A mysterious block of some kind.
All hail the block.
19. At least one can of Heineken.
Crunk was obviously got.
20. A bunch of old bottles and twisted metal.
The canal is located in one of Paris’ more hangy-outy spots, and it shows. Plastic in waterways, unfortunately, is pretty terrible for most wildlife. And there’s a lot of it floating around our oceans and rivers. Too much, in fact.
21. And basically, just generally, a collection of the grossest trash on Earth.
Yeeewwwww. Just. Yeww.
There’s a lesson here, people.
While it does make for a bunch of great photo ops, we should definitely stop throwing our trash in rivers and oceans. It adds up. Especially over decades. (Just take a gander at the gigantic patches of gross human trash floating around the Pacific Ocean right now.)
Especially if what we’re throwing in there is a full-on motorbike.
Waterway pollution kills over a million seabirds, more than 100,000 marine mammals, and costs billions of dollars — dollars that could be better spent elsewhere — to clean annually.
So don’t do it.
Or guess who’s going to have to tidy up after you.