Today’s Editorial: Clean up dive sites

Reputation is everything, especially when your bread and butter is word of mouth advertising.

Unfortunately some of the visitors we’re getting to the Cayman Islands are getting an unfavourable impression of our beautiful country.

Thousands of snorkellers visit the area around the wreck of the Cali in George Town harbour. It is there that cruise ships come closest to our shores.

Beneath the sea’s surface and around the Cali is polluted with trash.

And we’re not talking fast food bags or soda bottles.

The trash down there is a reminder, to the divers who call Cayman home, of the fury of Hurricane Ivan almost one year ago.

Littering the beautiful ocean are roofing tiles, corrugated sheeting and other junk.

It’s ugly.

And it creates a bad impression.

All kinds of things were found on the ocean floor following Hurricane Ivan.

In November a couple of local divers found a safe filled with jewellery, documents, credit card, drivers’ licenses and coin collections off Smith’s Cove in South Sound.

These divers were part of a volunteer group for the Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s underwater and beach cleanup.

While the contents of the safe were returned to the rightful owners, you could actually argue that it pays to volunteer.

And that’s what’s needed to help cleanup George Town harbour.

The diving community did a commendable job of pulling together after Hurricane Ivan to help clean the sea.

It was easy then, because there were no tourists to take on dive trips.

But the tourists are here now and there is still debris resting on the ocean floor all around the island, but it appears to be worse in George Town harbour.

Perhaps one of the many civic organisations or businesses could come up with a way to pay a couple of tour dive operators to use their boats and divers to help with the cleanup.

The Department of Tourism did a great job of organising beach and underwater cleanups just after the hurricane. Maybe it can step in again.

As the old adage goes, if one person has something negative to say he’ll tell it to seven people; each of those people will tell seven other people. Eventually, everyone in the world will know.

The Cayman Islands has worked to hard pre- and post-Hurricane Ivan to bolster its image to the entire world.

It would be a shame if a trash nestled on our seabed undid that reputation when we have the resources right here and right now to remedy the situation.