Environmentalism in 2019 started strong with the island’s first monthly beach clean organized by Plastic Free Cayman and Red Sail Sports.
Saturday’s early morning Barefoot Beach event in East End drew more than 70 volunteers. Among the group was his Excellency, Governor Martyn Roper, Miss World Cayman, Kelsie Woodman-Bodden and American Environmental Activist Casson Trenor. Additionally, volunteers from CUC, and tourists visiting from the UK teamed up with local residents to help remove over 900 pounds of marine debris.
Of the trash collected, 90% of it was plastic pollution from various sources. Over 20 pounds of plastic bottle caps were collected. These were separated and donated to STOK’D who continue to create elaborate art displays for various events in Cayman.
Most shockingly though, several buckets collected, filled to the top with small bits of Styrofoam continue to showcase the growing problem this toxic material plays in our local ecosystems. Much of the Styrofoam was extracted from the shoreline, but many smaller bits still remain in the sargassum, as microplastics are difficult to remove.
The event also consisted of two key inquiry stations. The first was manned by student experts, Richard Weber, Jack Paolini and Mikayla Corin, who educated all volunteers on the dangers of plastic pollution, as they promoted Plastic Free Cayman’s “345 Pledge”. The second station was organized by Kaaboo representatives to promote sustainability initiatives and recruit volunteers to help with recycling efforts during the upcoming February event.
Saturday’s monthly beach clean highlighted the power of government, businesses, schools, residents, artists and environmentalists coming together to improve a community issue and raise awareness around a global problem. Plastic Free Cayman will be partnering with Parley, the DOE and CCMI on February 2nd and 3rd to host two Little Cayman beach clean up events. All are welcome to attend.