Hundreds of shoes cleared from Little Cayman beaches

| 18/03/2021 | 21 Comments

(CNS): Volunteers collected hundreds of shoes from several beaches on Little Cayman and Owen Island this weekend during the latest Plastic Free Cayman clean-up event. More than 3,000lbs of garbage was cleared from three beaches by the 30 volunteers, and most of what they picked up was plastic, especially plastic slippers. The NGO, which is performing a critical function on a purely voluntary basis, teamed up with the Little Cayman District Committee of the National Trust, CCMI, the Department of Environment, the Southern Cross Club, Little C Tours and Protect Our Future to remove the one and a half tonnes of rubbish from Charles Bight and Mary’s Bay on Little Cayman and from Owen Island.

Much of the plastic that the volunteers are seeing during the clean ups have become micro-environments for various species. Bottle caps are homes for marine creatures and baby mangroves are growing through and around plastic bottles.

Plastic Free Cayman, which surveys the Sister Islands every year in an effort to track the amount of plastic pollution, said that the amount of trash found at each location was tremendous. “Mary’s Bay could easily be mistaken for a small landfill,” they noted.

PFC founder Claire Hughes continues to push for a National Clean-up campaign and plastic ban policy similar to those adopted by other Caribbean islands. “There may be new found hope with the upcoming government to address this issue,” she added.

Dejea Lyons from Protect Our Future, which regularly partners with Plastic Free Cayman, said that everyone has to stop being a part of the problem and start being a part of solution.

“If we just make simple changes, like using reusable bags when shopping or a bamboo toothbrush, we will stop being a part of the plastic epidemic,” she said. “Coming out and lending a hand in the monthly beach clean-ups is such a huge help. It has to be a collective effort.”

Ben Somerville, her colleague at the young activist organisation, said that seeing the garbage covering the coastline was heartbreaking.

“While it was clear that the vast majority of this garbage wasn’t from locals but was from neighbouring islands and brought to shore by the ocean… the amount of plastic pollution on this island made it clear that change must occur immediately,” he said. “If an island as small as Little Cayman is harbouring hundreds of thousands of pounds of waste on their beaches, the plastic epidemic is an issue larger than most can comprehend.”

Somerville said this should be a call to action for the community and government. “The use of plastics must come to an end,” he said. “If one of the most untouched and natural places on the planet has been impacted so severely, it should be clear that plastics must be banned immediately in the Cayman Islands, and we must begin to rely on alternative products.”

Amber Ebanks, another student volunteer with Protect Our Future, pointed out that plastic is not the only problem fuelled by consumption. “From grocery shopping to purchasing single use items, this trip has demonstrated and shown me just how much of a problem it is and how it has affected our islands and our marine ecosystems. It’s time we reconsider the impacts of our waste,” she added.

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Category: environmental health, Health, Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Plastic straws are near the last thing I’m worried about finding on the beach, but maybe it will bring back the swizzle stick. I could get behind that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Looks like not only shoes and slippers wash up on our shores and we have to deal with! We have some long term plagues living free of charge that needs to be “returned” to their country or set free to go elsewhere.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So because people from other countries dump their plastic garbage at sea – I must stop using my plastic toothbrush, or using plastic straws, or drinking stuff from plastic bottles!!!

    What about my plastic tv, my plastic outdoor chairs, my plastic modem, my plastic sunglasses, my plastic phone, my plastic parts on my car, my plastic pens, my plastic kitchen utensil handles, etc etc

    Ah yes let us go back to the days of all glass containers and paper bags. Then some group will complain about the glass and lack of trees in the world.

  4. Elvis says:

    Any size 9 us?

  5. Anonymous says:

    A Cayman plastic ban will have zero impact on the crap that washes up on our shores

    • Anonymous says:


      An excuse for doing nothing.

      Imagine if everyone in the world had the same excuse.

      Change often starts with the man in the mirror.

    • Anonymous says:

      But it still is a start. Anything we can do will help. Remember it’s not just 1 fish when everyone takes 1.

    • Anonymous says:

      We should be sending a bill to the Islands upstream from where most of this crap is coming.

    • Anonymous says:

      Therefore we should keep acting like idiots in how we use plastic, because we can???

  6. Anonymous says:

    sad times for the planet…. but an issue lost on the small closed minds of cayman….but how many caymanians do you see doing recycling?

    • Anonymous says:

      I am a Caymanian who recycles. I even drive miles out of my way to go the recycling area by countryside since the recycling area was closed at grand harbour. I am exhausted by the hateful stereotypes and vitriol. I would never go to another country and speak so terribly of the locals but your comment speaks to your character, not mine.

      • Anonymous says:

        9:31pm, do your best to ignore idiots like the one @ 11:38am.

        Those comments are usually the result of deep-seated jealously, seething envy and the lack of a decent education.

        Please keep doing your part and encouraging others to do the same🙏🏼

      • Anonymous says:

        Shame on Grand Harbour for closing the recycling depot, probably for the sake of a few parking spots. Fosters at Countryside now has my business instead of Hurley’s as that’s where I now bring my recycling.

      • Anonymous says:

        But they aren’t wrong. My neighbors burn trash and no one does anything. They aren’t expats.

        • Anonymous says:

          Broad sweeping statements like @ 11:38am are signs of the lack of a decent education, etc and are placed on this blog site to inflame.

          Please move on from that, do our utmost best at the individual level to bring about the change that we need.

  7. LJ Silver says:

    Always one shoe. Never a pair. Is no one worried that there are possibly thousands of one-legged people in neighbouring countries who are constantly losing their shoe in the sea?

  8. Sad to read says:

    Most of it was brought in from neighboring places by the currents. Sounds like a daunting prospect, because it is going to continue to happen even our CB brothers and sisters do not litter their beaches.

  9. Anonymous says:

    And hundreds more will replace them.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It always staggers me that people have taken so long to wake up to this problem. In 1990 I visited Jan Mayen by sea then carried on North to do a lengthy trip round Svalbard. Over 30 years ago, there was already plastic trash building up on remote beaches in that area. Judging by the writing on the plastic containers, some of it was clearly Soviet in origin but much of it appeared to be garbage simply thrown over the side of the fishing fleets operating there from the East Asian region.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Everyone should reuse the plastic shopping bags as small waste basket bags, instead of buying other small plastic bags for their small waste baskets, this will cut down on plastic bags and save money in the pocket

    • Anonymous says:

      And everyone needs to be composting plant food scraps in their own backyard or Land for Community Purposes. Quit buying compost from the USA, make your own. Community composting is in our future if we choose to preserve it.

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