Brac residents lead efforts towards recycling

| 09/05/2015 | 7 Comments
Cayman News Service

Clean-up at Long Beach, Cayman Brac

(CNS): A grassroots organisation on Cayman Brac, which formed with the express goal of getting a proper recycling programme going on the Sister Islands, is looking for sponsors for two containers so that the waste collected can be transported off-island. While the George Town dump (a.k.a. Mount Trashmore) receives a lot of public attention due to the enormity of the problems there, there are still no real plans to deal with the dumps on the two Sister Islands, where the garbage is also piling up. “Mini-Mount Trashmore” on Cayman Brac still contains most of the debris from Hurricane Paloma in 2008.

Now the group of concerned citizens, Sustainable Sister Islands (SSI), is working to help coordinate government and private enterprise for the most efficient and unified system of waste management that would consider the unique infrastructures of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman to address the two islands’ solid waste and reduce landfill deposits.

SSI spokesperson Kathleen Bodden-Harris said, “We feel the Sister Islands have exceptional infrastructures to that of Grand Cayman.  It is our purpose to call attention to such details and educate the public in proper processing procedures so that everyone is on board with a simplified yet unified system.”

Their immediate goal is to set up recycling depots on Cayman Brac that are very visible and easily accessible, but SSI said they will eventually need containers to remove the garbage off-island and are hoping that someone will step forward.

Cayman News Service

The goal: to ship the Sister Islands’ garbage off to be recycled

Bodden-Harris explained that a waste management company, JUNK, accepts plastic for recycling and other varieties of solid waste for processing on the Brac, while government is currently collecting and recycling aluminium and batteries.

“It is our hopes to widen our recycling and processing efforts by working with both government and JUNK. Plastic is a major source of shoreline litter, harmful to both our tourism and, most importantly to our endangered marine and wildlife species,” she said.

The local grassroots group has been successfully negotiating with the Departmental of Environmental Health and the management of JUNK by liaising the community needs and researching equipment and efforts that best service the smaller populations of the Brac and Little Cayman.

SSI emphasises “the five Rs” — Remove, Reduce, Rinse, Reuse and Recycle. Bodden-Harris said the “rinse” step is too often overlooked and if people don’t clean out the garbage as they are collecting it, it will start to smell and attract bugs and rats. Cans and cardboard boxes can be compressed by stepping on them to make sorting and eventual shipping easier, and many household items, such as Ziplock bags, can be re-used, while organic waste can be turned into compost or used to set up feeding stations for soldier crabs, she said.

Walking the walk, Bodden-Harris has been collecting cardboard, bottles and cans for a year, stored in her garage for the day they can be shipped off, and she says she has drastically reduced the amount of garbage she puts out for DEH to collect.

The group plans to motivate the community, beginning with the school system, businesses, as well as the tourism and watersports industries. School presentations have already begun and beach clean-ups have been ongoing since February. The next on is on 16 May for the ongoing clean-up of Long Beach at the end of Spot Bay. (See the Facebook page here for more details)

Bodden-Harris said underwater clean-ups will start in June, as well as efforts to remove litter from the roadside and community parks, and all residents and visitors are invited to join them.

“We’ve had an enthusiastic and supportive response from all participants,” she said.

The group unveiled their slogan “Be Part of the Solution … Not the Pollution! RECYCLE NOW!”  on 16 April at a community meeting at the Panama Canal in the Creek on the northern side of Cayman Brac.

Little Cayman has been responsive to the initiative, Bodden-Harris said, and members there have been making their own efforts independently or in collaboration with those of Cayman Brac.

Any and all interested parties are welcome to participate in the clean-up and recycling events.  For more information, call 916-3960.  

Visit the Facebook page: GREEN Team CB Community Beach Clean UP for May

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Category: environmental health, Health

Comments (7)

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  1. Driftwood says:

    At last! Something to do on the Brac!




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  2. Anonymous says:

    Q. What is the Cayman Islands biggest export?

    A. Empty containers.

    That’s your answer and it always has been. Stop shipping the boxes out empty and fill them with re-usable material for re-cycling. The only reason it hasn’t been done is because it’s too simple – no expensive consultants required and no scope for the people involved to make all-expenses-paid trips abroad to ‘evaluate’ the options.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Ever tried to use one of those “empty” comtainers? It is just as expensive to send items out as it is to bring them in. Hence the need to collect and store a lot of recyclable materials to get any economies of scale.




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    • Kathleen Bodden-Harris says:

      The issue is that Thompson Shipping uses Tropical Containers which has a policy of not shipping ANY scrap metal. This is part of our programme to work out these issues between private enterprises & government.




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      • Anonymous says:

        that policy went into place after Darts company purchased tropical. Mr Dart wanted to be sure to have control of what came in and what went out.




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  3. Anonymous says:

    It is ridiculous that the DEH and Govt have allowed the CB and LC dumps to get to their current dismal states. Sure, Mount Trashmore will take lots of time to resolve, but the two smaller dumps can be sorted and fixed with little effort and you would think the authorities would do so as a matter of urgency, if only to generate something positive in relation to their pathetic track record of complete and utter failure when it comes to landfill “management”.

    The Sister Islands could, and must, be models of modern and efficient landfill management. Moses and Julie should be embarrassed by the current situation that has been allowed to fester under their long watch.




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  4. Anonymous says:

    Remember the woman that used to pay you for your trash in the brac and shipped it off island herself without begging for help to defer costs.
    just last year she paid out over 100k to you brackers rented space, booked rooms, rented cars paid for labor.
    remember when you had it good like that ?
    Just like on the big island you sh*t on those that took care of you
    NOW BEG




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