Beach clean-up focuses on micro-plastics

| 23/11/2021 | 19 Comments
Cayman News Service
POF and Leo Club JGHS volunteers

(CNS): Volunteers picked-up around 300 pounds of garbage, mostly micro-plastics, from South Sound beaches at the weekend in a new focus for the regular beach clean-ups. Plastic Free Cayman hosted the event at South Sound dock on Saturday, just as Cayman reopened its borders to visitors more than 20 months after the pandemic closed them down.

Sixty volunteers, from 5 to 70 years old, removed the usual assortment of rubbish but honed in on micro-plastics, which have entered our ecosystems at very high levels. Protect Our Future leaders, Thomas Dickens and Nic Corin, said it was slightly different from other beach clean-ups.

“Normally, we see a plethora of larger plastic items: bottles, bags, and shoes. Today, the challenge was picking up all the small micro-plastics. However, with all the volunteers we had, we still managed to get a significant amount of trash. This goes to show the real underlying issue, that plastic really is everywhere,” the young activists said.

Research shows that there are more than 150 million tonnes of plastic in our oceans today, with 8 million tons dumped each year. This is equivalent to a garbage truck dumping a full load of plastic into our seas every minute. Much of this litter turns into the micro-plastics, which wash up on shorelines and invade ecosystems and bodies.

National Geographic released an article in 2020 explaining that we ingest more than 40,000 micro-plastic particles each year, which can directly cause reproductive and development toxicity in all species, including humans.

With social distancing, plenty of hand sanitizer and masks, the volunteers hoped to showcase how community service can be carried out in a safe and effective way during the pandemic. . 

Plastic Free Cayman clean-up coordinator, Carina Ecclefield, said it was an uplifting, well attended event that included the Lion’s Club, the John Gray Leo Club, Protect Our Future and Miss Teen Cayman, Asiah Thomas. “We had volunteers of all ages coming to help clean up. Every effort from our volunteers provides so much value for our island and we can’t thank them enough.”

The Plastic Free Cayman team continues to push for a national clean-up campaign and a plastic ban policy similar to what has been done in other nations around the world. 

Just recently, Scotland approved a ban on plastic straws and polystyrene containers, which will come into effect in 2022. England is also beginning its consultation process to ban several key plastic items in the coming year. Last year the EU took a hard stance on several single-use plastic items, such as plastic cutlery, straws and plates, plastic bags, cotton buds, and polystyrene cups. These are also some of the most common items washing up on our shores.


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Comments (19)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Found the Dart employee! Aw. Just trying to help, yeah?

    “Recycling” Lol! I can add a real life element to this without even reading the link. (it’s not about recycling because, yeah, that’s not happening and especially not here)

    Dart’s Styrofoam is designed to “breakdown”, however this does not mean it is biodegradable by any means (check the mark ont he bottom). What it actually means is that when exposed to the elements, it breaks into tiny edible pieces and further smaller bits at a mere stiff breeze. Especially when you try to pick it up, it practically disintegrates into even more tiny edible bits that are near impossible to pick up! [Note the word “edible” as this is what floats out to sea]

    I live on that beach and carry a bag for trash along with my bag for pet poo. So much of that trash is blown in by currents from other countries and the rubbish that the cruise lines dump over the side in the night. Just because the ships aren’t out there, don’t’ think that their trash won’t continue to collect throughout the world from years of open ocean dumping.

    “Under the current Caribbean regulations, ships can begin dumping garbage, including metal, glass and paper, three miles (five kilometres) from shore as long as it is ground to less than an inch. Almost anything but plastic can be dumped beyond 25 miles (40 kilometres)” But mark my words, plastics do get dumped anyway. I have seen it happen with my own eyes.

    Funnily enough, the link I have provided in the past has now been removed from YT. If you have enough money you can hide plenty of no so nice things…

  2. A.J. says:

    Kudos to all the volunteers. Keep up the good work.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I would like to help with these events sometimes. Are they advertised outside of social media? I do not participate in that baloney.

  4. Elvis says:

    Great job. Unfortunately itll all be back there again tomorrow. The world is hurting bad and no one cares it seems. Stop making plastic bottles maybe?
    Hello? Big firms? Do u even care? Nope, thought nit.

  5. South Sounder says:

    They sure didn’t clean up anything in front of my section of beach.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your section of beach! So privileged! It was a public beach clean up! Do you own the public beach?

    • Anonymous says:

      Troll. Dog City is not on the beach in South Sound. Not is Rock Hole.
      I’d wager my Tesla that you do not live on anywhere near a beach on this island.

      • South Sounder says:

        My helper used to live in Dog City and she is so awesome we moved her into our South Sound place. We actually pay a living wage too! Imagine that. I realize that the beach isn’t mine so yeah… Your comments aren’t particularly useful.

      • Anonymous says:

        Nor is**

    • Anonymous says:

      Um, do you realize how ridiculous you sound? How about YOU go and clean up “your” beach instead of trolling on cns?

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey “South Sounder” @ 3:22pm – How about you clean up around your own place? Entitled much?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wearing facemarks outdoors is silly.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Mr.Styrofoam only helps himself.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Well done to everyone involved. Thank you

    If only this government would fund this daily with their excess millions $

  9. Draco says:

    I wonder if Mr. Dart has ever done anything positive concerning the mega-pollution of his styrofoams??……………….. Probably not.

    • Anonymous says:

      Google is your friend.

      https://www.dartcontainer.com/sustainability/foam-recycling-centers/

      Now point us to any other manufacturers who do anything similar.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hey bud, did you mean all the smoke and mirrors?

      • Anonymous says:

        This comment was meant to respond to this guy (plus I fixed 2 typos lol)

        Found the Dart employee! Aw. Just trying to help, yeah?

        “Recycling” Lol! I can add a real life element to this without even reading the link. (it’s not about recycling because, yeah, that’s not happening and especially not here)

        Dart’s Styrofoam is designed to “breakdown”, however this does not mean it is biodegradable by any means (check the stamp on the bottom). What it actually means is that when exposed to the elements, it breaks into tiny edible pieces and further smaller bits at a mere stiff breeze. Especially when you try to pick it up, it practically disintegrates into even more tiny edible bits that are near impossible to pick up! [Note the word “edible” as this is what floats out to sea]

        I live on that beach and carry a bag for trash along with my bag for pet poo. So much of that trash is blown in by currents from other countries and the rubbish that the cruise lines dump over the side in the night. Just because the ships aren’t out there, don’t’ think that their trash won’t continue to collect throughout the world from years of open ocean dumping.

        “Under the current Caribbean regulations, ships can begin dumping garbage, including metal, glass and paper, three miles (five kilometres) from shore as long as it is ground to less than an inch. Almost anything but plastic can be dumped beyond 25 miles (40 kilometres)” But mark my words, plastics do get dumped anyway. I have seen it happen with my own eyes.

        Funnily enough, the link I have provided in the past has now been removed from YT. If you have enough money you can hide plenty of not so nice things…

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