Activists urge CIG to enforce anticipated plastic ban

| 11/06/2024 | 27 Comments
Cayman News Service
Plastic Free Cayman volunteers

(CNS): Local activists are urging the Cayman Islands Government to enforce the law when it implements the proposed ban on some single-use plastics. Plastic Free Cayman told CNS that they were delighted to see progress on an issue they have been campaigning for since 2017. As seen with past environmental initiatives such as the litter policy, enforcement is a key aspect of any piece of legislation, the non-profit said.

However, they questioned how the ban would be monitored and asked the government to explain the phasing-out period and the penalties or fines issued for ignoring the ban.

“Our team has been proposing a ban since 2017 as a step to help combat the growing issues surrounding plastic pollution,” a spokesperson for the NGO founded by Claire Hughes said. “As an island territory, we control our imports. This ban is a step in the right direction as Cayman joins 14 other Caribbean islands in the efforts to mitigate plastic pollution.”

The first attempt at implementing firm legislation was derailed by the pandemic, and the activists welcomed last week’s announcement that the customs legislation was being amended to roll out the ban on imports, though they pointed out that the timeline had not been announced.

“We hope that Cabinet expedites the process, as thousands of students in Cayman have written government letters over the years pleading for this type of legislation,” PFC added in their statement. How the law will be monitored and enforced remains key to its success. However, the activists said some details regarding the specifics of the ban are still unclear.

“Will plant-based plastics still remain, or does this include all types of ‘plastic’ for the items listed? And why isn’t plastic cutlery on the list?” the non-profit is asking the government. “Although this piece of legislation is key, we also need to draw attention to the fact that our islands need a national clean-up scheme. Our volunteers cannot keep up with the plastics that continue to overtake our shores due to waste entering the currents from other countries and cruise ships.”

PFC believes the government should consider a multi-pronged approach to the problem. “They are currently working on key legislation that will help curb plastic imports, which is essential. However, an education campaign and a national clean-up scheme with proper funding would be a smart solutions-oriented approach. Plastic Free Cayman would be more than willing to help with these efforts,” the activists said.

Commending the government for taking this step, the NGO noted that its members had “worked tirelessly over the past eight years to advocate for change” and had removed huge amounts of trash from various beaches.

Meanwhile, the students from Protect Our Future, which has worked alongside Plastic Free, told CNS that they also welcome the government’s move as, like PFC, they have repeatedly lobbied the government for the ban. They said the ban “truly does mean a lot to the younger generations”.

“Myself and other Caymanians have been campaigning for a plastic ban for years and are very relieved to see action finally being done. Better late than never,” Lilly Haug told CNS on behalf of POF. “Though this is an amazing step in the right direction, we believe that there are a few other key steps for our government to take, such as a funded national clean-up effort and an education campaign, if we hope to finally come to a complete resolution of the global plastic issue’s impacts on the Cayman Islands.”

Protect Our Future is always willing to support positive environmental changes in any way they can, she added.

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Category: Environmental Health, Health, Laws, Politics

Comments (27)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    These lil half cut activist non-profits and their fat accounts!
    Wonder why they don’t attack the main source of the flip flops and syringes: Cruise Ship Dumped Trash!
    We’ve caught and fined them dumping in our own harbor.. $500,000!
    But it’s still dumped throughout the Gulf and the Caribbean. Imagine the sludge that sinks to the sea floor.
    Red Tide diseases etc are spreading fast! Dead Zones now exist in the Gulf.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile plans to gut the Conservation law are full steam ahead.
    I will not be voting for anyone in UDP or whatever it is com 2025

  3. Anonymous says:

    I applaud the efforts of the various groups to get CIG to make policies regarding use of plastic products.

    However, the battle of keeping our shores/beaches free of pollutants will be impossible. I say this because the major of what is found on these areas are not because of locals/visitors leaving garbage on the beaches but due to the constant flow of garbage that continues to wash up on our shores from elsewhere.

    Bearing the latter fact, then we have to continue doing what is already being done knowingly well that little can be done with the pollution problems on our shores.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Pity that Caymanian voters can’t quite muster any voice when it comes to deeply-embedded developer corruption, deficient standards in public life disclosures, public money waste, non-delivery of financed public services, paralysis of due process, accounting shortfalls, billions in undeclared liabilities, serial abusers and rapists…on and on as though these fundamental sensibilities aren’t also the same reason there isn’t already a single use plastics ban, glass crusher, actionable waste management plan, etc. Find your voice and Rise Cayman. These turkeys aren’t going to do it, and it’s asinine to resign to ignore these material shortcomings for an entire election cycle. Over and over.

  5. JimmY Z says:

    Reducing plastic use in Cayman by reducing the population in Cayman now you know exactly or just how hard it is to do that!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree this single use plastics issue deserves action however it is much less significant than the current attack by UPM Cabinet muppets on the National Conservation Act. These activists would do well to voice their abject opposition to the heinous aspirations of UPM members which will have irreparable impacts to Cayman’s future if realised.

    • Anonymous says:

      This exactly! Our unhinged government trying to undo decades of hard work is concerning. Yesterday’s rain issues make it glaringly obvious to anyone with eyes that concreting over our island so a few can get rich is a much bigger concern than plastic straws. I think the government is trying to distract us from the real problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hey newbie, yesterday’s “rain issues” are nothing new or indeed surprising.

        • Anonymous says:

          Oh hush. I was born and raised here. I know it’s not new. But the continuation to concrete over everything has made it much worse.

          • Anonymous says:

            No it hasn’t

            • Anonymous says:

              Excellent argument, yours, and so complex in its layers of citation and research.

              Apparently, somewhere along the way, you abandoned the “I know you are, but what am I?” counterpunch.

              Please do better. These are important issues that shouldn’t be countered with banalities. I say this as a friend yet unmet.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or…. you could be the activist you want others to be?

      you could perhaps… be the change you want to see?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I would guess this is best managed through Customs. Might raise challenges for imports carried by people, but at least for anything shipped the inspections process can identify banned plastics products and deny clearance.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Poor minds are being hijacked for futile causes.

    Banning plastics in Cayman will never stop the flow from our poor neighbors to the North, South, East, and West.

    Recycling is the key.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Littering is already an offence, and so is not cleaning up and maintaining private property. A local consumer single use plastic ban will have zero impact on regional and international poverty-driven ditch/gully dumping nor the municipal corruption and waste management failures that flush it here from elsewhere. The garbage on the beaches of Cayman, and floating around the world, including at the bottom of James Bay in the Arctic, did not originate from Cayman, and much of it has been at sea for years. The only change will be local slobs pitching their biodegradable containers out the window instead of styrofoam clamshells. Add to that, there are no police in the community enforcing anything but a narrow band of selective interests.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ask them if Crystal Harbour just miraculously popped out of the sea one day.

  11. SSM345 says:

    Of all the laws unenforced, ignored and broken in Cayman on a daily basis; there is absolutely F all chance of anyone enforcing these whatsoever.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The best thing these young people could do is to have a representative or two stand for election and promote younger generations, and those that genuinely care for Cayman, to vote.

    It would make a refreshing change to have someone who stands for something other than status quo and the lining of one’s own pockets.

    • Anonymous says:

      Genuinely we need a new generation of representatives. The current crop is so heavily infested with corruption and malaise that its unfixable.

      The house is rotten, and termite infested, it cannot be saved, only torn town and rebuilt.

  13. They paved Paradise.... says:

    Thank you PLC,POF and many others for pushing this issue. Now we can ask Government to be effective after their long delay. Make it happen.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Just ordered a million plastic chopsticks to be sure I’m prepared.


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