Activists press on with battle against plastic

| 03/02/2020 | 10 Comments
Cayman News Service
Plastic Free Cayman volunteers clean up beaches on Little Cayman

(CNS): As the world celebrated Wetlands Day on Sunday, activists in the Cayman Islands were cleaning up beaches on the Sister Islands and in West Bay, as well as preparing for more action on the myriad environmental threats, including the removal of mangroves and plastic pollution. Students from the Protect Our Future campaign and other local environmental activists all believe the government is dragging its heels on these issues and has no clear vision for a sustainable future. 

Although government accepted a private member’s motion on Friday urging it to introduce a climate policy, and the plastic steering committee is supposed to be meeting Wednesday, the current administration has so far done little to reassure the community that it really is planning to address the major environmental challenges coming our way.

While government is beginning to talk more about the issues, local activists are well ahead of them. Plastic Free Cayman and the POF students are planning the first ever youth summit on tackling plastic pollution here in the Cayman Islands. The two-day conference scheduled for April is designed to empower more young people through education, networking, think tanks and workshops about the effects of plastic pollution and give them the knowledge and tools they will need to help join the fight against it.

Many of Cayman’s young people are already engaged in this battle, and weekend after weekend are actively doing something about it. The young volunteers, alongside those from Plastic Free Cayman and the National Trust, went to Little Cayman this weekend and removed over 900 pounds of trash from the coastline.

Lilly Langevin (18), of Protect Our Future, said it was truly disappointing to see all three islands being affected by plastic pollution.

“As soon as we stepped foot onto the beach, there were miles and miles of never ending bottles and micro plastics,” she said. “Living on an island with minimal recycling facilities, it’s important for us all to be cognizant of the amount of waste we are producing every day simply by refusing, reducing and reusing.”

Dejea Lyons (16), also from Protect Our Future, added that the clean-ups are disheartening but fulfilling too. “There was so much plastic and Styrofoam,” she said. “Honestly, plastic policy in the Cayman Islands has to be enforced or else the issues at hand will progressively get worse. The youth wants change and we want it now.”

Meanwhile, volunteers on Grand Cayman were tackling the beach in West Bay, which is not just marred by garbage washing up but by public littering. Around 85 dedicated volunteers picked up over 650 pounds of rubbish, including thousands of cigarette butts and beer bottles. While many volunteers have spoken about the importance of enforcing Cayman’s anti-litter law, they said there is no sign of anyone patrolling to do that, and so people are just throwing their trash directly on the beach.

The Protect Our Future representatives, however, are encouraging all local students to take a stand and join the fight to address the many environment related challenges here.

They are appealing to students aged between 10 and 19 to apply to attend Cayman’s first youth summit on the environment, 2020: A Cleaner Vision for Cayman. The environmental conference will to be held on 25-26 April focusing on the global plastic pollution. Students will be tasked with coming up with solutions that could help improve this island and the world.

Volunteers from Plastic Free Cayman said they are looking for the next generation of Caymanians to protect our oceans.

Applications are can be found here and must be submitted by 28 February.

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Category: environmental health, Health

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The flotsam that is deposited above the high water mark should be the responsibility of the land owner to maintain, not private do-gooder citizens, who assume, mistake, or falsely equate undeveloped shoreline as public crown parkland. We need to be more awake than that. DRCL has already land-banked many of the cherished raw land area parcels and should be fined for not maintaining them, rather than silently letting volunteers clean their derelict portfolio – BUT – surprise surprise, as with the growing library of other orphaned laws, the Registered Lands Law 2018, has no corresponding governance Regulations to compel them to do so!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Did they read the writing on the containers and note that most of the plastic trash comes to Little Cayman from Haiti?

    • Anonymous says:

      Who cares where it comes from?

      • Anonymous says:

        I know where all the styrofoam comes from. Ever here in the streets in USA.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, who gives a shit about causes, when we can ban plastic straws _here_ and keep doing things that will amount to absolutely jack shit in the whole scheme of things? But hey, it’s the intentions that really matters right?

  3. Elvis says:

    Good job but sadly this is a never ending chore

  4. Anonymous says:

    That’s right…. pick it up and pile it on the dump so government can set it on fire! zzzzzzz

  5. Anonymous says:

    What are those Ritz branded waters in again?

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