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'Ton of Junk' Collected from Brando's Polynesian Atoll; 'All the Floating Symbols of Consumer Society'

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PATPEETE, French Polynesia -- Tennis balls, 10-year-old aluminum cans and neon tubes were among more than a tonne of junk collected in recent days on the tiny Polynesian atoll bought by Marlon Brando in the 1960s, the actor's son said.

The garbage had washed ashore with the tides, and Teihotu Brando made the Friday announcement as a way of drawing attention to pollution and other types of environmental destruction.

The cleaning of the 13 miniscule islands belonging to the French Polynesian Tetiaroa atoll took three days and was done in conjunction with Earth Day, which is Sunday. Members of environmental organisation Te Mana O Te Moana (Spirit of the Ocean) joined in the project.

The atoll is located northwest of Tahiti and collects "all the floating symbols of consumer society," said Cecile Gaspar, head of surveillance for sea bird colonies on the atoll. Tetiaroa is known for its bird diversity.

Some cans collected during the clean up had expiration dates on them from 10 years ago and remained in good condition, Gaspar said.

Brando, star of the famed "Godfather" films among others, died in 2004. Teihotu Brando is today the sole guardian of Tetiaroa, where boats regularly deliver supplies to him when they come to fish around the atoll.

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