other dumps

We were pleased to hear yesterday on the Rooster Radio talk show about a group of West Bay residents who had done more than just talk, but had taken action to clean up properties in their district, home by home, lot by lot.

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.


  1. I take it Cayman Free Press is going to now change it the material it uses to print it glossy magazines to a material that can be easily recycled unlike the current material which can not and can only be added to the landfill.

    I look forward to CFP becoming a part of the solution instead of being apart of the problem; it is easy to be critical of the status quo but now let’s see compass use it resources to educate about all the modern methods of waste management but let’s include the cost effective WTE plants as well as the expensive ones it often refers to.

    The challenge this country faces is to solve the problem on the same current budget – so let’s see the editorial board’s solution and I be happy to provide a letter but I’m only limited to five hundred words once a month which makes it a little hard !

  2. I would like to also express my appreciation for the folks up in West Bay as well as the folks over at Barkers volunteering to help keep the island clean. Compass, please see if you can provide information on how others can join in this effort and any other that might exist under the radar. Hopefully we can turn this into and Island Wide cleanup effort. It’s high time people come together to do something positive.

  3. Editorial Board Cayman Compass, I would say a well put together report which shows some homework was done.
    I also must say it is a good start what West Bay is doing, and their trash must have been well hidden because it is one of the cleanest districts on the Island, also I see no reason why other districts cannot follow; however it will take much more than lip service to get this campaign going. Remember in each districts we have the people who care, and those who don’t care. Now some of those that care may not be in the position to do heavy clean up manually, and may require the assistance of either private companies or the government environmental health department. Now after saying this I would like to especially concentrate on my district, Bodden Town.
    Some time ago we had a small group which was headed up by Mr. Emilio Watler, and others. I myself would share sometimes in this clean up; however there was a struggle for items such as rakes, brooms, machetes, garbage bags etc.
    My thoughts are that the Government should employ persons from their respective districts to keep clean their own parks beaches and road sides.
    What is happening now is that we find persons from George Town having to come to Bodden Town to clean our parks, beaches and roadsides, when there are able young men and women in this district who can be employed to do these jobs a few hours each day.
    Each district may speak for themselves, I am only making suggestions for Bodden Town, The fastest growing district, and is there a very good reason why we cannot have sub-stations of environmental health, and department of environment merged and set up at the area of the Agriculture Department in Lower valley. Is anyone really listening. We have four representatives with two ministers, where is everyone?. Does political meetings end after election? or is it for the residents to request an open meeting with our MLA’s to discuss our concerns and further inform us when, and what is in the plan for this district. Yes this district do need a lot of attention especially in areas of Belford, Cumber Avenue, gun square, Monument road, Manse road and other areas. Rainy season will soon be here again and what should the Belford and Cumber area residents expect. We need results from the long list of promises.

  4. There’s plenty of manpower sitting in Northward and Fairbanks that can be used in cleanup efforts. Courts all over the US have people serving sentences for Non Violent crimes as well as others that have been sentenced to community service or have had fines levied on them and cannot pay them. It also gives prisoner something positive to do and help them have pride in their community. Not to mention earn their next meal.

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