Today’s Editorial April 24: Help get Cayman clean

If you’re looking for something to do tomorrow, pitch in and help clean up the Cayman Islands.

Many groups and individuals have chosen Saturday to celebrate Earth Day, which was in reality on Wednesday.

They’ll use the day to pick up trash and litter from our beaches, roadways, vacant lots and yards.

While it’s true that much of the trash on our beaches washes in from the Caribbean Sea, most of the trash in the Islands, and especially on Grand Cayman, is generated by those of us who live here.

We should be doing a better job of cleaning up after ourselves, and not just on Earth Day, Earth Week or during Earth Month.

It’s something that should be done every day by everyone.

Government does provide funds for beautification committees in each district, but frankly we don’t think there should be a need.

Each district is unique and can be considered a community. The people who make up that community should have enough pride in the area in which they live to keep it clean.

Many businesses and individuals tout ‘going green’ but talking and doing are two very different things. If you look around it’s easy to see that the way we live isn’t always reflected in what we do.

Many of the candidates on the campaign trail in the run up to the 20 May General Elections promise they’ll do something about recycling, Mount Trashmore and the environment in general.

As they talk, listen and listen closely. Then question them. Make those candidates who talk about ‘going green’ know that if they are elected to office they will be expected to keep their environmental promises. Elections do come around every four years.

One of the things we would like to see the next government do is pass legislation banning plastic shopping bags.

A quick surf on the Internet showed us that plastic shopping bags can last up to a thousand years in a landfill and that in the environment they break down into tiny, toxic particles that become part of the soil and water.

Walk on just about any beach in the Cayman Islands and eventually you’ll see plastic bags swirling in the sea or washed up on shore. The bags that end up in the sea can kill marine life.

While retailers ‘give’ us these plastic bags for free, they are paying for them and it’s a pretty good bet those costs are passed on to us, the consumers.

All the major supermarkets and at least one liquor chain are now offering cloth shopping bags for a nominal price. The bags can hold more merchandise than the offending plastic sacks and users find them easier to carry.

If you haven’t purchased your cloth bags, please make an effort to do so.

It’s just one way you can help protect Cayman’s environment.