More than 50 containers of used restaurant oil were found dumped on the beach side near the Reef Resort in Colliers Bay, East End, last month.
Emily Radawiec, a resident of Old Man Bay who found the trash on March 31, told the Caymanian Compass in a text message: “After a day of relaxing on the beach, as I was walking to my car I decided to pick up some trash, and in doing so I came across 52 5-gallon plastic containers of old restaurant frying oil.
“The large amount disturbed me as it was obvious it was disposed here, but it also appeared to be slightly covered up with bush to hide it,” Ms. Radawiec said. She said she was upset because there was other trash on the beach as well.
“Being a diver, I care for our oceans and beaches, so I hate to see such things as this.”
The director of the Department of Environmental Health, Roydell Carter, said the DEH offers free recycling services to restaurants disposing used cooking oil.
“This is a very unfortunate situation as there is no need for it to be disposed in such a manner. DEH offers the public free disposal of used cooking oils as well as used motor oils, which we prepare for shipment overseas for further processing,” said Mr. Carter.
According to the Litter Law (1997 Revision), “Whoever throws down, drops or otherwise deposits and leaves any litter in, into or from a public place in such circumstances as to cause, contribute or tend to lead to its defacement of such litter is guilty of an offence.”
Those prosecuted for illegal dumping are liable to pay a fine of $500 and a sentence of up to six months’ imprisonment.
Mr. Carter highlighted some of the risks posed to the natural environment from the illegal dumping of frying oil.
“It appears that the containers are intact. However, in the event that they spill or leak, it can cause potential problems with the water table, soil contamination and may also affect local flora and fauna in the area,” he said.
The Reef Resort declined to comment on the trash found by the East End resident.
Proper disposal of frying oil
The DEH advises restaurant owners to pour the used cooking oil back into the original container, and to seal the container with the original cap, making sure that no water gets into the container. After the oil is contained, it can be dropped off at the 24-hour drop-off area at the entrance of the George Town landfill.
“Generators of the used oils can deliver it to the landfill site during normal working hours or leave it in the designated area at the public drop-off site at the landfill for DEH to manage it without additional cost to them,” said Mr. Carter.
Public Education and Promotions Officer at the DEH, Tania Johnson, said that in situations where restaurant oil is illegally dumped, an environmental health officer will visit the restaurant to inform the owners of the proper disposal methods outlined on the DEH’s website.
“If they don’t do what the environmental health officer tells them, the DEH will serve an abatement notice, which is a legal document. If that is not complied with, then it is taken to the Legal Department for action under the Public Health Law. The fines are outlined under the Public Health Law,” said Ms. Johnson.