This Father’s Day weekend Plastic Free Cayman partnered with the Cayman Compass and several radio stations including Z99 and Rooster FM to host a microplastic and mangrove centered beach clean at Safe Haven. More than 50 local volunteers attended Saturday morning’s clean up and over 630 pounds of local litter and marine debris were removed from the site.
It should be noted that this was the third major clean up event at Safe Haven this month. In total, more than 1,000 pounds of waste has been removed from the location in less than three weeks. This calls into question the need for a government-based clean up initiative, that could employ workers to maintain the health and safety of our local beaches.
Even with much of the focus centred on cleaning the mangrove areas, there still remains many microplastics throughout this ecosystem. In fact, crabs, worms and small fish are ingesting these plastics and even making them part of their habitats.
Aside from the marine debris washing ashore from countries like Haiti, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, it was very clear from the clean up that local litter is still a major issue, with very little enforcement of Cayman’s anti-litter law. In fact, two of the most common trash items found in the area just across from the Golf Club were beer bottles and condoms. Sadly hundreds of these items were collected by our volunteers. Trash they had no hand in creating.
This weekend’s beach clean marks Plastic Free Cayman’s 80th clean up event, with over 76,000 pounds of trash removed from Cayman’s beaches on all three islands over 5 years. Since January of this year, PFC has removed more than 5,000 pounds of trash and are excited to continue their partnership with the Cayman Compass as they plan quarterly clean up events together to boost community awareness and outreach on the issue of pollution.