Ocean Conservation Month concluded with a huge beach clean-up event at Spotter Bay in East End, organised by Plastic Free Cayman, who were working with The Guy Harvey Foundation and Protect Our Future.
Taking place on Sunday 28th March, the event was attended by more than 50 environmentally-conscious volunteers who helped to remove more than 1,120 pounds of trash from Cayman’s coatline. This specific part of the island had been hit hardest by marine debris, organisers stated.
Most of the trash collected was plastic and microplastics, with plastic forks, bottle caps, toothbrushes and bits of polystyrene (Styrofoam) littering the shores. Much of the plastic was now becoming micro-environments for various species and it was difficult to find an area not covered by plastic. In some regions, organisers said it was several layers thick.
Since 2021 began, in less than three short months, Plastic Free Cayman has removed more than 7,350 pounds of debris from Cayman’s beaches. This is more than 3.6 tons. Unfortunately, when compared to past data, plastic pollution is getting worse rather than better, they stated.
Clean up coordinator, Sophie McBride, said the organisers were grateful for the volunteers who shared their time and energy to help clean up Cayman’s East End.
“Spotter Bay was not only covered in washed up bottles and broken down plastic from various countries, but also areas of cans and waste from beach barbeques and gatherings,” she confirmed. “It is devastating to see so much plastic in our oceans and on our beaches; the micro plastics and Styrofoam we see on our clean-ups is heartbreaking. People need to understand the negative impact this is having on wildlife and our health.”
Ms McBride urged the Government to step up and make impactful changes and implement more sustainable practices.
“We hope the new government moves forward to ban plastic bags, straws and single use takeaway boxes and cutlery. They must invest in the recycling process and upcycling, as much of our waste can be turned into useful items,” she said.
Everyone can make a difference in some way, she said, and encouraged people to make at least one small change, from not buying a plastic bottle, refusing the plastic bag/straw or making other positive changes to our daily lives.
“It is everyone’s responsibility,” she confirmed.