By Christopher Tobutt
Early on Saturday morning a small army of hundreds of volunteers of all ages put on their gloves and assembled in little groups at the side of the beach, or park or road, as part of the annual Chamber of Commerce Earth Day Cleanup, which this year had been delayed by covid-19. Everybody knows Cayman is the jewel of the Caribbean, but litter spoils everything, and can be dangerous for the sea life, too, because turtles and birds and fishes can mistake floating trash for food.
Andy Croft was part of a big team of 25 volunteers from Pro Yacht who were busy cleaning up Batabano Road. “We are here for the earth day clean up,” he said. His son, Zach was also there too, “I have been helping the environment by cleaning up….and this is my dog, Paddy,” he said.
A big bright red truck zoomed down the road, and stopped. Two men got out and started handing out tall cans of cold coca cola to the volunteers. It was starting to get hot, and by the sweat on their brow it was exactly what they needed. Coca Cola Manager Cezar Cruz said, “We are giving out coca cola for free, because we want to support the cleanup. Chrisina Clarke Foster from the Leos Club, was hard at work with her friends, Kimberly and Vanessa. “It’s a good thing to be involved in community service and give back to the community,” she said.
A group of four volunteers, all employees from Walkers, were busy in West Bay too. Kelly Watson said, “I’ts always good to clean up where we live and make it beautiful. we love this place, its paradise. “We found everything from tin to bottles to Wendy’s stuff like food containers.
One of the biggest single groups in West Bay were employees, family and friends of Cayman Turtle Centre, who had a big area of the beautiful Garvin’s Park to clean. Some of them had been up before dawn, and some of them came along a bit later, but in the end everyone joined in to get it done. Just about every kind of trash was there, including bottles, cans, and lots of old flip-flops.
Teenagers love to help too. Three students from CIFEC School were very busy cleaning at the side of the road. Arianna Yates, 16 said, “We’ve been cleaning since 8.30. We started at Smith Cove and we worked down at the Botanic Park, and we came back to Smith Cove and we are walking along South Sound Road to pick up any garbage that we see at the side of the road. We all volunteered to help the environment to become a better place.”
Much further along, near to the Hurley’s roundabout was another group of young people, belonging to Protect Our Future. It had started to rain, but they were still all hard at work. One of the group’s leaders, Dejea Lyons said, “Protect our Future is a youth-led group focusses on the environmental issues of the Cayman Islands hoping to have a better future for the youth and the younger generations than us.”