Grand Cayman’s trash problem continues to pile up

Chad Mitchell Ebanks says the trash in front of his East End home is overdue for collection. - PHOTO: MARK MUCKENFUSS

Residents and property owners are continuing to complain about inadequate garbage collection around Grand Cayman.

In mid-December, Department of Environmental Health officials said trash service was returning to normal following a slowdown because of a labor dispute. But some residents say their neighborhoods have gone a week or more without any pickup.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Health said she was unable to reach anyone on Tuesday who could comment on the situation.

In the community of East End, overflowing garbage cans and stacks of garbage bags sit in front of residences that line Sea View Road.

George Rankin, 63, said there have been long periods between pickups in the past two months.

“Sometimes it’s nearly two weeks they don’t come,” Mr. Rankin said, sitting on a doorstep and eyeing a nearby pile of garbage. “We’re getting flies and I see the rats running about. These trucks don’t come on time. Christmas, they had a mess there.”

Mr. Rankin said he had not called environmental health officials to complain.

Across the street, Chad Mitchell Ebanks, 30, said he had spoken with East End MLA Arden McLean two weeks ago.

“He said he was going to get them to come around,” Mr. Ebanks said. Since then, he added, a pile of large items – part of the annual oversized materials collection – had been hauled away, but the residential trash has not.

Piles of trash such as this one are a common sight along Sea View Road in East End.

Mr. Ebanks said the smell has been a problem and he worries about his family’s well-being.

“It’s a very dangerous health issue,” he said. “You wouldn’t want a pile of garbage outside your front door. You get garbage full of maggots and flies. We’ve seen a lot more rodents than before. I go outside and throw bleach around it.”

The smell and the increased presence of flies keeps him from being able to open his windows, Mr. Ebanks said. He also thinks the problem could affect the larger economy.

“It looks bad because it’s right on the roadside,” he said. “You have tourists driving by and they think the government is not doing its job.”

He said one neighbor who owns a trailer took matters into his own hands. He drove around East End letting people fill the trailer with their trash before hauling it to the landfill himself, Mr. Ebanks said.

How widespread the problem is, is unclear, but Ron Blair, 68, who owns two rental properties in George Town, said he is experiencing similar problems, particularly at an apartment building he owns on Crewe Road and Alamo Drive.

“The whole street is a pig pen,” Mr. Blair said. “Garbage in bags is littering the street.”

“I’m concerned about the process of disease,” he said. “I think there’s a health hazard brewing.”

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  1. Surely “heads should roll” Some years ago when we had two garbage collections a week (here in West Bay on Mondays and Thursdays) because of problems maintaining the trucks we were told that there would only be one collection a week. However, we were also told that new trucks were on order and that collections would be back to twice weekly. Now what has happened, even though new trucks have arrived still it seems that there is a problem maintaining them. Maintaining them is not rocket science as these vehicles are used all over the world and other jurisdictions have no trouble keeping them on the road. What is the problem here? I seem to remember a few years ago a story going round was that the guys who kept the trucks on the road had been “rolled over”. Could someone please answer the simple and vital question. Why can we not cope in Cayman with maintaining the trucks

  2. I have to believe that the Minister for Environment and DoE should be ashamed of themselves to be making excuses and letting the Islands become one hazardous dumping ground .
    The Islands are a Tourist destination .
    I think that they’re all playing politics with the safety of the People’s health and lives , and from the Minister right down to the truck drive should be made to go out and clean up all the garbage from around the Islands .

    People should be watching to see if there’s anything wrong with garbage been picked up from certain neighborhoods around the Island , then you’ll get get the full story.