15:53 GMT26 January 2021
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    Thousands of yellow sponge-like balls have appeared strewn across kilometers upon kilometers of beaches along the English Channel coastline of the Pas-de-Calais administrative department in northern France.

    The mysterious balls, which are not pieces of marine sponges, have disturbed locals and holidaymakers alike. Even though officials insist that they are not toxic or dangerous, people are advised to be careful not to touch them.

    Unfazed by the disturbing sight of unknown creatures, who have colonized about 30 kilometers of the local coastline, swimmers, windsurfers and fishermen are going about their business.

    The French authorities aren't sure what the balls are, but researchers are investigating to find out. The sponges are said to smell like an oil product and some experts believe they could be the scattered remains of some kind of building material.

    "It seems to come from an oil product," Jonathan Henicart, president of an NGO concerned with protecting the coasts told French TV news channel BFMTV.

    "It could come from a polyurethane product commonly used for building. And it smells very, very lightly of paraffin," he added.

    Meanwhile, a cleanup is already underway along the 30-kilometer stretch of the sandy beaches of northern France, overrun by the mysterious creatures of the deep people have never seen before.

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    Tags:
    beaches, sponge-like balls, cleanup, investigation, Jonathan Henicart, France
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