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Clean Up and Campaign moves to Barkers

Environment 23 Dec, 2021 Follow News

Clean Up and Campaign moves to Barkers

Last weekend Plastic Free Cayman, CayOcean, and the MCGI church joined more than 45 local volunteers to clean up Barkers Beach and support Protect Our Future’s latest “Our Future is NOT single-use” campaign.

The event also included appearances from Cayman COP26 representative Ms. Dejea Lyons, as well as Mr. Martin Lancaster, Breast Cancer Foundation advisor and beach clean warrior, whose cleanup efforts have raised thousands of dollars for charity.

This holiday clean up marked Plastic Free Cayman’s last beach clean of 2021. This year, the organisation removed more than 14,000 pounds (over 7 tonnes) of trash from Cayman’s beaches. In fact, since Plastic Free Cayman’s establishment in 2017, more than 6,000 pounds (3 tonnes) of garbage, mostly marine debris, has been removed from Barkers National Park.

Protect Our Future co-leader Nic Corin commented, “It seems as though every time we go back to Barkers Beach the plastic pollution situation gets worse. We need to take action. It is our hope that Cayman will implement the single use plastic ban that was in the works two years ago.”

After removing more than 500 pounds of debris this weekend, Chloe Bentick-Lalli, the Protect Our Future campaign leader added, “It’s sad to see our National Park filled with plastic. Our future is not single-use, and we need to wake up and engage in real action.”

Of course, much of the marine debris does come from other nearby island nations, however, there is also a great deal of local litter, especially in Barkers.

The leaders of Plastic Free Cayman fully understand the convenience of plastic in much of our daily lives, especially during the current global pandemic. Lateral flow tests, masks, and gloves are just a few of the single use plastics that continue to be a part of our current situation. However, this should not become an excuse for continuous local litter, a poor waste management system and inaction regarding the banning of unnecessary single-use items. Like the students of Protect Our Future, Plastic Free Cayman would like to see a future driven less by consumerism. Instead, our products should be part of a circular economy and more sustainable.

This marks Plastic Free Cayman’s fifth year of cleanup efforts. As a nonprofit partnering with thousands of volunteers both locally and internationally, they have removed over 25 tonnes of waste from Cayman’s beaches. Unfortunately, 2021 marked a significant increase in plastic waste on our beaches, up more than 30% from 2019. Clearly the problem is not going away, which is why a call to action is so important. In many ways, our young people are leading the charge on this issue, when we are the ones who caused it.

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