Beach cleaners pick up nearly 1,000lb of plastics

| 18/01/2021 | 22 Comments
Cayman News Service
East End Beach Clean

(CNS): Volunteers removed over a 1,000lbs of garbage from Grand Cayman’s beaches, most of it plastic, in a clean-up this weekend, with teams working at Barkers Beach in West Bay and beaches in East End, according to a spokesperson for Plastic Free Cayman. As well as highlighting the major issue of marine debris, the haul of garbage collected Saturday morning revealed a local littering problem. In addition to the plastic items and micro-plastics, volunteers picked up thousands of bits of polystyrene, syringes and vials of blood.

Francella Martin, the lead organiser of the event, said these were properly disposed of, but noted that this is becoming a regular occurrence now for the beach clean-ups.

“But what was most surprising was the amount of local litter,” she said in a release about the event. “It seems that parts of East End and Barkers are becoming increasingly polluted by locals discarding bottles, cans, old appliances, diapers and cigarette butts upon our shores.” Volunteers have suggested that government puts up signs on beaches to discourage people from littering and remind them of the fines.

In his strategic policy statement in April 2019 Premier Alden McLaughlin had promised a war on litter, but almost two years later the “major anti-litter campaign” he announced has never materialised.

“We need to re-educate both locals and tourists as to what is expected from them; we need to provide better facilities for waste and, in time, for street recycling bins; and we need to look again at the litter laws and their enforcement. All three parts of this campaign are important and need to reinforce each other,” he told the then Legislative Assembly.

PFC founder Claire Hughes has continued the NGO’s campaign for a national clean-up campaign and plastic ban policy similar to those introduced on other Caribbean islands, but the government recently postponed yet another stakeholders meeting on the topic. “It is time that our government takes ownership of this important issue,” Hughes added.

Local volunteers involved included the young Protect Our Future activists, the Miss World Cayman Team and the Cayman Islands Development Bank.

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (22)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What is the key to detecting local diapers and cigarette butts?

  2. anon says:

    Barkers has been a traditional dumpsite in West Bay, I don’t see that changing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks to the volunteers…would like to see more Caymanians there though.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dear CNS, i enjoy reading and contributing to your information. Please don’t print any more promises that Alden McLaughlin have made. We all know by now that it is just hot air. Very similar to the mountain of a land-fill that Cayman now owns.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why doesn’t government end the $1000 a month free money pay out to watersports employees and start a beach clean up program that pays $1000 a month?

  6. Anonymous says:

    how do they know that the car battery and washing machine didn’t wash in from jamaica

  7. anon says:

    1.01pm I’m sure the organiser is able to distinguish local litter from flotsam eg coke cans bearing our Coat of Arms!.
    What about the local Govt paid clean up squads, I never saw any in George Town, did they clean up any beaches?.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It’ll all be back again in a month

  9. Anakin Skywalker says:

    See you again in a month, where the 1000 lbs of plastic will magically replace itself. Ready to be picked up, placed into plastic trash bags then placed on top of our landfill that is bursting at the seams.

    These cleanup efforts make as much sense as bailing out a boat with a hole in it. In this case the hole is neighboring countries.

    Hard facts for the snowflakes: Even if we converted the entire Cayman Islands into a landfill, we couldn’t even hold 1% of the plastic in the Caribbean sea. This is why I’m so negative towards these efforts that include near zero recycling.

    “so you don’t clean your house?” – yes, but not an ironshore “beach” in East End that gets visited like 2 times a decade.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cleanups are as much about spreading awareness/education about the problem as they are about actually cleaning the areas. I’m sure the organizers are well aware that much of the trash comes from neighboring countries and will be back. It’s not supposed to be a solution, but even just keeping the conversation going about the topic is better than doing nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tolerating filth lying everywhere is unacceptable. I do not see how these efforts conflict with your recycling goals.

      • Anonymous says:

        Refer to the third paragraph – your answer was was clearly answered.

        We do not have the space, resources or ability to store or process even a small fraction of what washes up from somewhere else.

        China has stopped accepting recyclables, resulting in other countries getting back up even more. Even if we could ship it off, would you pay for it?

  10. Tracy Ebanks says:

    I was personally very proud that 8 of my 15 members of staff was able to volunteer. It was an eye opening experience and more volunteers are needed on a regular basis. My granddaughter committed to go with me the next time and she’s only 9 but this is where the education starts for the future 🙂

  11. Anonymous says:

    Great work all involved, disregard the inevitable naysayers. Keep it up.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Great work always from these persistent volunteers, thanks again! However, may commentators seem to think all this garbage, syringes , etc. originates here on the island and is the result of nasty people. Please factor-in that most of the thrash on our shorelines is flotsam – i.e. floats ashore!!

    • Anonymous says:

      While there is little we can do to stop the influx of sea-derived plastic from elsewhere, there are also distinct zones of home-grown seaside bacchanalian garbage further up above high water mark. Styrofoam takeaway trays, cutlery, napkins, chicken bones, Rothmans/Bensons packs, their spent cigarettes, foil, bottles, and their matching caps; used condoms, and their wrappers, and boxes. That stuff didn’t float in here. It’s gross, and no acceptable excuse for it. Anyone wanting a campfire experience (especially on private property) should at last bring their own garbage bag and pack their crap out, like a human – in some cases, literally their crap and toilet paper. Have some manners. RCIPS don’t seem to know where these ritual spots are, or care to patrol them. Attendees to these beach fetes, drinking 40oz bottles of hooch, and flats of White Tip, are surely getting back in their vehicles and careening around our roads, sometimes crashing into people, houses, etc. Our Fire Dept doesn’t seem interested in the weekend pallet fires in these wooded underbrush areas, often not far from million-dollar residential homes.

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