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Huge yield from East-West clean up

Environment 20 Jan, 2021 Follow News

Huge yield from East-West clean up

A recent coordinated effort of beach cleans-ups has collected more than one thousand pounds of litter, that is more than nine pounds per volunteer, that has been discarded by residents. The volume and type of litter found has caused alarm among the environmentalists who worked so hard to clean up Cayman’s coastline.

Last Saturday, Plastic Free Cayman got together with Protect Our Future, the Miss World Cayman Team and the Cayman Islands Development Bank and organised an East-West beach clean both in East End and in Barkers in West Bay. The event was led by Plastic Free Cayman clean-up coordinator Francella Martin who oversaw a total of 98 volunteers who were split between the two locations.

The organisers were sad to note that most of the debris collected was plastic and microplastics.

“It was also observed that with changing currents, thousands of bits of polystyrene (Styrofoam) have also washed upon Seven Mile Beach this weekend,” they advised.

In addition, several syringes and vials of blood were also collected and properly disposed of by local volunteers.

“This is becoming a more regular occurrence, but what was most surprising was the amount of local litter,” Plastic Free Cayman said. “It seems that parts of East End and Barkers are becoming increasingly polluted by locals discarding bottles, cans, old appliances, diapers and cigarette butts upon our shores.”

Once analysed, it was found that a mixture of ocean debris and local litter were found at each location.

“It is clear that we still have a local litter problem compounded with the effects of marine trash from poor waste management of our surrounding islands as well,” Plastic Free Cayman said.

Local volunteers from CIDB suggested that the government add additional signage to all beach locations to help prevent locals from littering, while Miss World Cayman contestants saw the pollution problem first hand as they began to develop their own campaigns.

Plastic Free Cayman founder Claire Hughes is continuing to push for a national clean-up campaign and plastic ban policy similar to what has been seen on other Caribbean islands.

“Sadly, the government has postponed yet another stakeholders meeting on the topic. It is time that our government takes ownership of this important issue,” organisers said. “We continue to press the government to take direct action regarding single use plastics.”

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