Cayman’s beaches are embarrassing

The Department of Tourism, the real estate industry, the diving industry and all tourism related businesses mention beaches as one of the prime attractions in the Cayman Islands.

And yet, except for the Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands’ beaches are covered in plastic bottles and other trash. Most of this is not the fault of anyone here. The trash washes in from the sea, throughout the year, but especially during storm season.

Various community groups hold beach clean-ups, but it is just not enough. Most clean-ups happen during Earth Week, after the high tourism season. I encountered a tourist recently, sitting amid the bottles and junk on a Bodden Town beach. She was upset and said that next year she was going to Cancun. She was even speaking of cutting her vacation time short and leaving early! She is only one person, but this is not a good sign.

We need a plan to find a long-term solution and it shouldn’t be difficult or expensive.

Should there be paid government employees? More organized service club clean-ups?

This job has to be done by hand. The outer district beaches are covered with beautiful coral rocks, seashells, native vegetation, and historic bits of pottery and antique glass so using a mechanized beach cleaner will not work.

Government could place more trash bins at convenient locations, and encourage citizens to “pitch in”.

This would help, but clearly we need a regularised program of island-wide, year-round beach cleaning, especially in light of the “Go East” initiative.

As we head to the beaches this Easter, if everyone could take extra trash bags and clean up for just an hour or less and it would be a good start – and good exercise!

Allowing the beaches to look the way they do now is bad for tourism, the enjoyment of our beaches by residents and for the real estate business.

The Cayman Islands should have clean beaches. It isn’t complicated, controversial, or expensive. We can do this.

Lois Blumenthal

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