Students give families a 900lb lesson in pollution

| 19/04/2021 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Student activists from Protect Our Future led a community clean-up event at Safe Haven this weekend and collected more than 900lbs of garbage, including two huge refrigerators, a toilet and a generator. As politicians were horsetrading over who should take the reins of power and be responsible for addressing these mounting problems, the students were doing their part to educate their younger brothers and sisters and their parents about Cayman’s waste-pollution problem. POF said that much of the trash was marine debris, such as plastic bottles caps, fishing line and polystyrene.

But at least half was local litter, including hundreds of beer bottles and cans, dirty diapers and thousands of cigarette butts tossed into the bushes. POF said in a release that it is clear that Cayman’s anti-litter law is not enforced and shows a dark side of our local litter problem.

Grade 12 students Genene Magnan and Isabela Watler organised the event in partnership with both Plastic Free Cayman and Ocean Heroes Bootcamp. Magnan said it was one of the most successful 100% youth-led beach clean-ups to date.

“More than 105 bags were collected by volunteers of ages ranging from four to 60 plus,” she said. “The waste collected highlights the local litter problem on island, and although discouraging, is a reminder that there is still the need for public education on the topic of litter. One of the additional goals of this beach clean-up was to forge connections across the youth, teaching younger children about the problem of plastic pollution in Cayman, and how to instill real and tangible change.”

Magnan had a clear message for the politicians: “As we anticipate the formation of our new government, we do hope that our future leaders seriously consider a ban on specific plastic items, a stricter enforcement of our anti-litter law, and instituting a serious recycling and composting plan of action. If done properly, each of these initiatives could create local jobs for our community while improving our environment.”

Helping Magnan and Watler were Grade 10 students Lili Aleria, Demae Lee, Lauren Colaiacovo and Angelina Sargsayan, who ran the education booth to teach all the children and their families about the dangers of plastic pollution and alternatives to plastic consumer goods. Each family was paired with a student from Protect Our Future in order to continue the education process throughout the event and to help the younger students with the clean up. 

“This event was designed to teach little kids about plastic pollution,” said Watler. “Our new POF members did a great job teaching the kids and buddying with them throughout the clean-up. We are very hopeful that these collaborations will continue into the future.”

POF also urged the community to join the Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Earth Day clean-up next weekend. See here for more details.

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Category: Environmental Health, Health

Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I know some of these young people and they are awesome! They are truly a credit to their families and schools. They display maturity far beyond their years. I hope people will nominate some of the leaders for the next round of ‘Proud of Them’.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Amazing work kids, well done!

  3. Sunrise says:

    It is great to see that our younger generation cares. But we have to get a grip on the useless, non caring, polluting people on these islands!! It is so shameful to see how people, if we can call them that, have no respect for the environment or the way that diseases can be spread through garbage!! We need to start a system that they get seriously fined!! Great job to the students and don’t stop there, have laws enforced to have these animals, I call them punished!! Wake up Cayman, litter causes serious diseases!! So disgusted!!! 🤬🤬🤬

  4. Elvis says:

    Brilliant work. Well done everyone. I wish these clean ups were more publicized so i could attend. Pleased to see someone is leading the country where it matters most.

    • Beach Cleaner says:

      Elvis, there is no need to wait until there is a group cleanup. Grab a couple boxes of garbage bags and head on down to your nearest public beach access for 3 or 4 hours work!

      • Elvis bradley says:

        Its just better with a big organized group id be there all day, they are a disgrace after the easter break the beaches, shame on those ppl

  5. Anonymous says:

    So happy to see our children care. Thank you for all involved and shame on you whom deem our world less than you’re own selfish ego.

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