Last week, people in countries all over the world observed Earth Week.
The Cayman Islands was one of those countries.
Organised by the Chamber of Commerce, groups and individuals came out last Saturday and picked up litter around our roads, our beaches and even under water. Big companies helped; government offices helped; schools helped; even politicians helped.
It was good that so many people wanted to do something to help the environment, and Cayman sure did need a good spring cleaning.
But the truth of the matter is we should be observing Earth Year, not just Earth Week. Our environment needs our full attention all the time.
Take yesterday’s front page of the Caymanian Compass for example. There was a story about the illegal dumping of highly toxic chemicals into the sewage system. The dumping, which is coming from a source that has not yet been determined, is seriously affecting the sewage treatment plant.
This is all because someone is too ignorant to know better, or too shameful not to want to pay for the proper disposal of the chemicals.
Also on the front page of yesterday’s newspaper was a story about the fire near the Botanic Park going out after five days of burning. It went out Monday, but not before it consumed some 60 acres of native forest and threatened the Botanic Park and its precious residents, the Blue Iguanas.
The burned land contained slow-growing Ironwood trees and Cayman’s national flower, the Banana Orchid, which might never return to the area.
The sad part is that the fire looks to have been set deliberately, possibly as a way to clear land.
Also in Wednesday’s newspaper was a story about spearfishers fearing extinction. A couple of weeks ago, some of Cayman’s remaining turtlers were bemoaning the fact there were hardly any turtles left to kill anymore. Of course, if it were not for human beings over-fishing and over-turtling, then neither the spearfishers or the turtlers would have anything to complain about.
Protecting our environment and preserving the Earth for future generations is about much more than picking up litter once a year.
The Chamber of Commerce has made the environment its focus for the entire year, and so should everyone. We have a lot more work to do.