Voluntary efforts such as those are important to maintaining a pleasant community and help to fill gaps where government can’t, or perhaps even shouldn’t, assist.
To the folks involved in the community project, bravo. Please keep us informed at the Compass; we’ll be happy to come out, shoot some photos of your volunteers in action, and publish them in the newspaper.
In a similar vein, last weekend 50 volunteers descended upon Barkers Beach to clean up litter in advance of a kitesurfing competition. The Barkers group collected more than 30 bags of trash over a two-mile stretch of beach (in the middle of what government has purported to be the Cayman Islands’ first national park and which logically would be among the first areas to be protected officially under the new National Conservation Law).
Now, don’t mistake our two examples as evidence that West Bay is especially populated with litterbugs. Not at all. Those pests are thriving in each of Cayman’s districts.
Of late, this newspaper has been editorializing about the intolerable situation at the George Town landfill. We don’t intend to let the matter drop — ever — until the problem is solved, and with millions of pounds of garbage, trash and who knows what else in the dump, we’ve got plenty of material to work with.
But just because we’re focusing on the biggest dump doesn’t mean we’ve failed to notice, or have forgotten about, the other dumps strewn across the islands.
Every district, indeed nearly every neighborhood we’d wager, contains those vacant lots, those unsightly and out-of-sight places, those hopelessly undersized and overwhelmed garbage bins, where people habitually dump — in the purest sense of the word — whatever trash, appliances or furniture they can manage to lug over or unload from a pickup truck.
Drive down any of Cayman’s main streets, and before long you’ll see someone littering, tossing a can out of a car window or leaving a trail of cigarette butts on the roadside. (Can you imagine what their homes look like?)
We also haven’t forgotten about Cayman Brac, which suffers from its own mini-Mount Trashmore. If you like scary stories, just read this paragraph from the Department of Environmental Health’s website: “The Cayman Brac landfill is located on the south side of the island, opposite the public beach. It follows similar waste management practices and procedures as the George Town landfill.”
Need we say more?
If we really want to keep our islands beautiful, then we as individuals need to clean up our act (with support from the police or conservation officers), and the government needs to be out in front, with the minister responsible for environmental health, Osbourne Bodden, leading the way, rather than waxing on about committees, unaffordable waste-to-energy fantasies and further rounds of taxpayer-financed junkets to cities that already have functioning waste management facilities.