A tiny turtle hatchling negotiates a minefield of plastics and other debris as it makes its journey toward the sea. The image, snapped by a visiting media crew on a Little Cayman beach, demonstrates the threat posed by carelessly discarded trash to the island’s marine life.
The Department of Environment warns that plastics pose a serious threat to marine life. Earlier this year, a hatchling was found dead with its head trapped in a sheet of plastic on Seven Mile Beach.
Janice Blumenthal, research officer with the DoE, said discarded plastic fishing line, which takes more than 600 years to degrade, was among the biggest threats.
She said turtles, seabirds and other wildlife often become entangled in monofilament fishing line. The department has installed 40 recycling bins for disposal of fishing line.
Now it has partnered with the Guy Harvey Foundation to host a screening of the documentary movie, “A Plastic Ocean,” at Camana Bay, Tuesday night, to raise awareness of the global environmental impact of plastic waste. Representatives from the department and from the Department of Environmental Health will be on hand to answer audience questions on the night.
The movie screening is just one element of Ocean Conservation Month, organized by the foundation of artist and wildlife researcher Guy Harvey.
Jessica Harvey, of the foundation, said the documentary, which also features Cayman freediver Tanya Streeter, had an important message about the impact of plastics on marine wildlife. She said the aim of Ocean Conservation Month, which also includes a shark talk and documentary for school children, a cocktail fundraiser, ocean story-time events for youngsters, and the screening of Mr. Harvey’s latest shark documentary, was to raise awareness of the wonders of the underwater world.
“The idea is to put ocean conservation at the forefront of people’s minds and to make people more aware of what is in their backyard. If you don’t know about it, you are less likely to care about it,” she said.
Shortlisted images in the Ocean Conservation Month photography competition are also on display throughout the month in an outdoor exhibition at Camana Bay.
Ms. Harvey said the month of events, sponsored by the Kenneth B. Dart Foundation, was an extension of Mr. Harvey’s annual “shark talk” events.
More than 900 school children are expected to attend a screening of “This is Your Ocean: Sharks, part 2,” a movie, featuring Caymanian youngsters swimming with tiger sharks in the Bahamas, that Mr. Harvey’s foundation produced last year.
Local experts will also speak to schoolchildren at the events on Nov. 10 and 24.
The finale to the month’s event will feature the premiere of another movie, “This is Your Ocean: Sea of Life,” which features footage of Cayman Islands students swimming with whale sharks and manta rays on a trip the Mexico’s Isla Mujeres earlier this year.
Miss Harvey said she hoped Ocean Conservation Month would grow to become a regular fixture on the Cayman Islands calendar.
“A lot of it is targeted at children, but hopefully that means we target families as well,” she added.