Plastic dominates huge beach trash haul

| 22/09/2021 | 10 Comments
Cayman News Service
Clean-up volunteers at Beach Bay on Saturday, 18 September

(CNS): Volunteers celebrated World Clean Up Day last Saturday by picking up over two tons of trash, most of it plastic, from beaches on all three Cayman Islands. In a collective effort at six locations on Grand Cayman as well as on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, 300 volunteers picked up over 4,200 pounds of rubbish, the largest collection of marine debris ever removed in a single day from beaches here.

The environmental activists and volunteers involved, led by Plastic Free Cayman (PFC), said they were inspired to see so many people working hard to clean up but sad about the amount of plastic trash, which shows the significant use in Cayman of single-use plastic.

“There’s always mixed emotions at clean-up events,” said PFC founder Claire Hughes. “There is joy and gratitude for the amazing volunteers, but sadness that we have to clean up in the first place. Large Corporations must take responsibility for their packaging and it is clear that we desperately need a national clean-up scheme in the Cayman Islands.”

Plastic Free Cayman continues to push for a plastic ban policy similar to those in other countries around the world. Last year the European Union took a hard stance on several single-use plastic items, including plastic cutlery, straws, plates, plastic bags, cotton buds and polystyrene cups. These are also some of the most common items washing up on our shores, the activists noted.

Most of the garbage collected was plastic and microplastics, and the most common items were bottle caps, plastic cutlery, cigarette butts, toothbrushes, fishing line and rope, bits of Styrofoam, shoes and parts of plastic bags. Each site presented its challenges, as trash was often embedded in rocks or sargassum, or buried in sand or at the base of the plants that line the coast. Several items were found to contain hermit crabs that had made their homes in plastic caps and bottles.

Thomas Dickens, of Protect Our Future, said the volunteer efforts were commendable, but putting things into perspective, he said, “According to global statistics, today we picked up the total amount of plastic that our island consumes in just over two hours. Hopefully this will open people’s eyes to the extent of our consumption problem.”

Supporting this sentiment, CayOcean Founder Brody Thomas said, “I hope the results resonate with the government, especially that we need a system change and with the people a cultural change in the way we see, use and treat plastic. Past events have shown that as a community we can come together, to rebuild and support in times of need. Our islands are suffocating from plastic, and today because of our actions it was able to breathe a little better.”

The event was a collaboration between Plastic Free Cayman, CayOcean, Protect Our Future and the Mangrove Rangers. Volunteers came from many schools, businesses, government offices, and other local charities.

Governor Martyn Roper and his wife, Lizzie, joined the volunteers, and Ezzard Miller spoke to the Protect Our Future students as they cleared areas in North Side where Tropical Storm Grace had left debris. Financial Services Minister Andre Ebanks helped out in West Bay.

Around 2,000 pounds of trash was removed from Grand Cayman beaches in North Side, Gun Bay, Barefoot Beach, Beach Bay, Red Bay and West Bay, while 1,824 pounds was removed from beaches in the Brac and 355 pounds was picked up on Little Cayman.


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Category: Environmental Health, Health

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Fix the Dump. PACT what is your plan?

  2. Elvis says:

    Most of the plastic actually isn’t from cayman even though a lot is including disgusting diapers and beer bottles of course, wendys and burger kung garbage yes of course.
    People really need to take their c**p home with them but of course they never will.
    Most of the plastic removed is already back there too so same time next week for the rest of our lives anyone?

    • Anonymous says:

      Pretty much yes. Until we, that is we the developed world, can help or force the likes of Haiti to stop disposing of their trash in the sea on an industrial scale then all we can do is damage minimisation and if that means spending a couple of hours in the fresh air and sun on the beach picking some up, teaching the kids a lesson in responsibility and service to others, then so be it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Lipstick on a pig. Most of its back there already.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah but some of it isn’t, idiot.

    • Anonymous says:

      Such a dumb argument. Do you throw your trash in the sea? Why not? There’s so much there already what’s a tiny bit more? You presumably don’t do it because you know just 1 bag of trash makes it just one bag of trash worse; we’ll taking one bag of trash off the beach makes it just one bag of trash better. Same logic, just requires a little bit more effort. Thank you to everyone involved!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Amazing work. Well done everyone involved.

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