Young activists repeat call for plastic ban

| 03/11/2022 | 33 Comments
Turtle Beach after a clean-up (photo courtesy of Plastic Free Cayman)

(CNS): As teenagers across the Cayman Islands continue leading the charge on highlighting environmental issues, Protect Our Future (POF) is holding a Youth Climate March for a Plastic Free Cayman on Friday in George Town. Concerned over the delay in the long-promised ban on certain single-use plastics, the young campaigners want to keep the issue in the public eye and cut the islands’ disproportionately large consumption of single-use plastic that is damaging the environment.

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“Sadly, Cayman has a huge environmental footprint, much of which comes from consumption of single-use plastic, the most obvious example being the dump, or ‘Mount Trashmore’,” the POF activists said in a press release about the protest.

“The impacts of single-use plastic on the island, from on beaches and roadsides to the dump, are impossible to ignore, and it becomes more obvious each year that the only solution to our plastic pollution problem is by targeting the source of plastic production and shipping to our islands.”

The march will begin at 2:45pm by Dairy Queen and then travel along the harbourfront and through George Town, ending outside the Government Administration Buildings at 4:00pm. POF will partner with Plastic Free Cayman, Nauti Nomad and students from several schools. Both POF and PFC continue to push for a plastic ban policy similar to that introduced on other Caribbean islands.

“Youth voice is an incredibly important and powerful factor in generating change, big or small, in the community,” said Evie Sweetman (16), a Protect Our Future Leader, said. “We are hopeful that some real changes will come from this march.”

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Category: Environmental Health, Health

Comments (33)

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  1. Green not greed says:

    Offshore centres that allow the rich to avoid paying taxes cause massive environmental harm by preventing government programs that would protect the environment particularly in the poorer economies. No point in bleating about plastic bottles while avoiding the issue of the damage caused by parasitic micro jurisdictions.

    • Anonymous says:

      The offshore centers and the Special Economic Zones that are still in operation, offer no secrecy, anonymity, or haven from personal identification and disclosure to their home revenue and tax agencies. They also don’t author those home country’s tax codes, contrary to popular misconception. Of course there may well be some legal or crafty tax code gaps being exploited, by unscrupulous home country professional advisors, but the task of identifying and getting those filled is the responsibility of the citizenry of those jurisdictions. Best of luck.

      • Jonathan Adam says:

        The point made by the original poster above, and the inconvenient truth therein, is not only valid it is also one of the real reasons why the proliferation of plastic pollution is allowed to exist and continue to exist.

        Why would any of the multi-national corporations involved care less if they have places like Cayman to escape their responsibilities and culpabilities?

        This truth is something which most (across the board) in Cayman are reticent and/or more often than not completely unwilling to recognize, let alone address and seek to rectify. The reasons why are obvious. The financial industry controls Cayman’s trajectory, the economy and one may surmise the politicians themselves along with the vast majority of all decision making processes.

        The construction/creation of those tax laws may well be the responsibility of those in the jurisdictions from whence they have come, however, it is the tangential damage done as a result which is relevant here. The acceptance as legitimate those “legal or crafty tax code gaps being exploited” which you have referred to is an integral part of the cause. One of the effects is the heinous amounts of plastic pollution which has wreaked toxic and destructive havoc not only here but across the world and across the seas and oceans. Identification of and recognition of that fact is now an unwanted yet unavoidable reality which our coastlines are constantly inundated with.

        Who among the lobbyist/activist groups are willing to get to the root of the matter in order to see real and lasting solutions achieved? Moreover, who are willing to sustain the inevitable consequences of speaking truth to fact?

        “Green not greed” has written truth to fact.

        I for one want to see a return to a Plastic Free Caribbean Sea.

        That cannot happen in the absence of an introspective study of one’s own responsibility and/or culpability either as an individual or collectively as a place and a people.

        The truth is this; The Cayman Islands is a highly remunerated player within an international system of legalized financial injustice which is the facilitative cause of this and myriad other debilitating and destructive financial constructs not only here in Cayman but across the globe.

        Not one of the lobbying and/or activist groups are willing to recognize, accept and actively speak to this reality or the real cause and effect factors therein. The reasons why are as plain as day. It is for the continuance of their own perceived self-preservation at the continued cost to all and sundry (human, plant and animal) and is indicative of a self-defeating, destructive and unproductive hypocrisy.

        Luck is not necessary in any of this. Honesty is and that necessary honesty is thus far not forthcoming as it pertains to the real truth of this and many other matters at hand.

        The solutions are there to be found and achieved but it will not happen if the underlying greed is allowed to continue unhindered, unexposed and unaccountable.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Single use water bottle ban needs to happen.
    Then let’s get deep pockets (and there are many here) to find a refill station for liquid detergent, shampoos and the the like.

    • Anonymous says:

      We must be near to 80,000 permit workers in Cayman right now, with a large percentage working for $6/hr when and where they can. Many don’t have potable water where they live at night. Construction companies also go through zillions of these bottles. Not saying it’s right, just that there are both colossal domestic and imported awareness problems.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Without political subsidy, environmental activism is a first world socio-economic privilege. When less than a quarter of our resident population are comfortable registered voters, it’s clear that most of population comprise the imported labour category, bringing hopes, dreams, and conditioned habits. In 2016 our minimum wage was increased from $4.50 to $6.00/hour and there it has stayed. Those in that category reside where they can – in flood-prone zinc-roofed shanties, off the road, where 5 or more bunk per room, some without potable water. Point being that we should try to shift our guest workers into a “living wage” category before essentially telling that category to “get a better job” with eco-premium tax, on top of the inflation for which no humane cost of living adjustment has been offered in the last 6 years.

    • Anonymous says:

      The reliance on plastic use does depend on socioeconomic privilege; but that is why legislators need to make subsidy for persons most affected, do data-mapping of the island like how Dominica had done after Hurricane Maria, see where the most-impacted communities would be and tailor the implementation to accommodate that.

      But that would only be a bandaid, let’s be honest and admit most of our trash is a result of our neighbors, and if we again know that this is based on their relatively lower socioeconomic status then it is in our best interest to aid in our neighbors’ development to ensure we all can collectively transition to a reduced/eliminated plastic future.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wasn’t that Marlin that was washed up on the beach at Discovery Point full of plastic?
    The entire world needs this message including 3rd world countries that bulldoze all of their trash directly into waterways and oceans

    • Anonymous says:

      you mean those 3rd world countries that are also the dumping ground for 1st world countries?

  5. Al Catraz says:

    Good idea to reduce waste, but their sign makes no sense. Our future most certainly is “single use” as is each day. That is why it must be spend wisely – because we only get one and will only use it once.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Marches and sit-ins do not accomplish anything in Cayman, even when it’s rich kids baking in the sun. They are going to have to pool their lunch money and pay off a PACT member to stick their neck out against Cayman’s powerful families that don’t care to research what “single use” plastic means. None of this fixes beach plastic floating in from municipal waste problems hundreds or thousands of miles away. Those are two different problems. It also doesn’t educate people on the environmental impacts from eating meat and dairy, which must be a focus for anyone purporting to be an expert on changing status quo. #eatingourwaytoextinction

    • Anonymous says:

      Kids with cell phone, got dropped off in SUV that use gas to take a photo op wearing clothes likely manufactured in poverty stricken countries would be a more fitting heading.

      They pick and choose what they care about.

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s. About time just look at Rwanda…..

  8. Anonymous says:

    Just picked up in front of my house. Nothing identifiable from here. Mostly water bottles from all over. Then other plastic bottles, caps, one flipflop, a piece of a backpack. This time no syringes, straws, shoes, or fishing floats and nets.

  9. Anonymous says:

    We are familiar with Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, but there is a fourth R, which is Refuse. It’s increasingly clear that governments aren’t willing to propel the change that is necessary on the schedule required. It’s up to consumers and voters to call the tune and set the pace.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It’s embarrassing that it hasn’t been done already.

    Yes, it’s a literal drop in the ocean in the grand scheme of things, but locally it’ll have a massive impact if single use plastics are banned. The trash in the bushes and by the roadsides wouldn’t be so chronic. As for those saying it’s too expensive…well, we’ve phased out things like leaded fuel, leaded paint, asbestos…we can do this too. If businesses are compelled to buy it, guess what? suppliers will stock it, prices will drop.

    Now just actually prosecute lazy pricks who dump their fast food trash everywhere.

    • Anonymous says:

      Our handful of restaurant/merchant supply stores know they are the ones in the for-profit business of ordering and replenishing noxious containers and bags. Until there is an explicit codified Customs prohibition, or stakeholder backlash, they must voluntarily decide to cancel or continue importing single-use materials that wind up leaching toxins in our landfill or on the side of the road. It’s not a long list of actors – are there even 5? Ponder on the big Caymanian family names that stand behind these stores, and that’s why there will be no laws that restrict their hegemony. These kids would do better to go into these few stores and post pictures of what is still sold, what is the workable Eco-substitute, and the Corporate Social Responsibility price difference, and let consumers/retail businesses decide whether being a community pariah is worth that margin per unit.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ocean plastic, public littering, do not necessarily relate to the availability of single use plastic in Cayman. These are three different topic headers.

  11. Mumbichi says:

    Well done POF!

    While we hope for change, there are things all of us can be doing right now. For one thing, some of our single-use plastics can at least be reused multiple times — our bread packaging for example.

    We can, of course, make our own bread, but those who have to buy bread have no choice but to buy it packaged in plastic. At the least we can save and reuse those plastic bags over and over, or at least until they are no longer safe or serviceable.

    Avoid styrofoam wherever possible. Plastic bottles are collected and recycled on the Brac, however I confess I have no idea what is actually done with them.

    Meanwhile, these teens help push awareness and hopefully help shape future decisions. Maybe our elected officials can show us that they are making decisions and setting policies which benefit the people and the environment instead of catering to boutique overbuilding and luxury estates.

    Hey, I never stopped dreaming. 😀

  12. Anonymous says:

    I am all for the reduction/ elimination of single-use plastics. However I am not sure I see the need for multiple organizations working to achieve these outcomes. Would it not be better to join together under a single umbrella to have more efforts concentrated on securing more success?
    This seem to be a common problem in Cayman, namely multiple groups/organisations working to achieve what is essentially the same result. Be it environmental, child hunger, animal health/safety, spiritual health (churches), youth assistance, etc. In what is effectively a small town, how can such divided efforts achieve great success?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Poor kids being spoon fed BS. Plastic is here to stay! Unless some 3rd would sh!$T Holes are nuked and the Earth’s population is decrease, it will always be in the ocean. Best to focus on on Biodegradable containers, but with the economy in the toilet business cant afford them.

  14. Anon345 says:

    banning single use plastics is a pretty simple fix with large long term consequences. we can do better – thanks for the reminder pof!

  15. Anonymous says:

    I really don’t understand what the hold up on this is. It really “should” be a no-brainer, I guess that explains it?
    Come on now, get on with it FFS!

  16. Anonymous says:

    You know when that Nordstream pipeline blew up and released all the gas ? – the same kind of thing happened here with Wayne boasting about looking after the environment 🙄

    Stay on them POF ! 👍

  17. Anonymous says:

    don’t worry, no-plan-pact are on it…..zzzzzzzzzzzzz

  18. Anonymous says:

    Brillian effort. But where is the government and the departments responsible for the islands cleanliness? Tell you what, let’s take away their budget, and outsource these teenagers with it.

    It would obviously be a better value for our tax dollar.


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