It is undeniable that we have to deal with the landfill and our other environmental challenges in the Cayman Islands.
It is important that government gets a handle on the situation but we need more than just government action. The Cayman Islands, like the USA, is a consumer society. We buy more than we need and throw it away before it is necessary.
The volume of take-away food packaging alone from tourists and residents is staggering and none of the packaging is being disposed of properly, recycled, or shipped back to where it came from. We don’t recycle glass, plastic or paper on our tiny islands – just aluminium and batteries.
It is no wonder the DEH estimates that there are 450 tonnes of garbage being brought to the landfill every day. But we have become so disconnected from many of the dirty, messy things like garbage and the landfill, we think it just disappears when we put it at the curb.
So if we want to see it change, we need to start by changing ourselves. We need to lead the initiative and not just leave it to government.
Whether it’s bringing re-usable carrier bags to the grocery store to reduce plastic, buying reusable drinking bottles or a faucet filter (disposable drinking bottles take up to 1,000 years to decompose), refusing to buy anything that comes in Styrofoam (research shows it is practically immortal), or simply buying only what we need, we need to be honest with ourselves about our impact on the environment, ask ourselves what we can do, then take action.
If the people change, business and government will change. Power to the people is the whole point of a democracy.
Cayman is such a small and beautiful nation so our collective contribution to reducing our impact on the environment would be immediate, visible, and tangible.