Today’s Editorial for May 11: Gov’t must lead green movement

In an interesting outcome to a
recent online poll, over two-thirds of the respondents said they
conserved, but they knew they could be greener.

If one accepts the principle that
acknowledgement is the first step in solving a problem, it seems the Cayman
Islands populace would like to get greener. 
The problem is, the Cayman Islands Government isn’t on the same page.

As one of the poll respondents
pointed out, nearly all of Cayman’s green initiatives are driven by the private
sector, not the government.  When it
comes the being green, the government is no better than a pale shade of lime.

The country has a disgraceful
landfill situation, with a towering mountain of trash dominating the George
Town landscape.   Pollutants leaching
from the dump are poisoning the waters of one of Cayman’s most precious
resources, the North Sound.

Although successive governments
have commissioned expensive reports, paid for trips to multiple places abroad
to learn about waste management, all we’ve heard is talk. 

Campaign promises have been quickly
forgotten, or at least dismissed because of cost. If this country thinks proper
waste management is too expensive, it should consider the costs of a poisoned

Although the government should not
be expected to regulate the amount of electricity or water residents use, there
are no good reasons the government should not mandate recycling of cans, glass
and plastic.

Even if there is no money in
recycling anything but metal, glass can be crushed and used in paving aggregate
or mixed with marl for rough land fill; light-weight plastic can be shipped off
island to prevent it from going to the dump. In addition, tough laws should
govern the disposal of things like batteries, chemicals, oil and toxic liquids.

If the government were to lead the
green movement, residents would follow, especially if they had no choice.

But as long as the government walks
the fence, too afraid to upset voters and not wanting to spend the money to do
what is required, Cayman’s environmental problems will continue to worsen. Residents,
meanwhile, will continue to conserve just a little through private sector initiatives,
knowing all the while, they could be a lot greener.