A group of students from local schools converged on the Government Administration Building Friday afternoon to urge an end to single-use plastics in the Cayman Islands.

Environment Minister Dwayne Seymour met the children on the front steps of the building and took letters from several schools advocating for a stand against plastic pollution. The rally, timed in coordination with World Oceans Day, aims to see a plastic-free Cayman in the future.

“I like your passion and your drive and your dedication to trying to help this environment and ridding us of plastics. I really appreciate that it’s coming from children. We need to preserve the next generation. That’s what’s important,” Mr. Seymour said.

Students from Montessori by the Sea, Cayman International School, Cayman Prep Primary and Cayman Prep High School, St. Ignatius and Edna M. Moyle Primary School took part in the event. The kids ranged in ages from 5 to 16, and they all were thrilled to be part of a movement for a healthier Cayman.

Students from Hope Academy, Clifton Hunter High School and John A. Cumber Primary School also participated Friday but were unable to attend the gathering at the government building.

Catherine Childs, education programs manager for the National Trust, said it was important to underline the dangers of plastic to the environment. It was also important, she said, to hear from the future residents of Cayman, who will be living with the effects of pollution tomorrow and down the road.

“We asked the school kids if they would like to have a voice in this debate, and they were so overwhelmingly excited to have the opportunity to express themselves,” said Ms. Childs. “They’re our future Caymanians and they want to have a voice in how the future looks, so they’ve written letters to the government asking them to please ban certain types of plastics from the Cayman Islands.”

The theme of World Oceans Day is “preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean,” and the children were congratulated for being responsible stewards of the future environment.

“In the Caribbean, it’s a growing problem. In Cayman, we certainly have our fair share,” said Gina Ebanks-Petrie, director of the Department of Environment. “You just have to walk any beach and you can see the plastic that comes in from the sea.… It’s a really troubling and very serious problem, and I’m really happy to see this small army that’s going to be ready to assist the Department of Environment.”

The National Trust and Plastic Free Cayman organized the event, and once they reached out to the schools to participate, they found a receptive audience. The students and their teachers began crafting letters and petitions to hand to the government in the hopes of reaching the highest levels of power.

“It was a combined effort by many of the teachers at CIS. All the way from pre-K through high school,” said Bill LaMonte, a high school science teacher at Cayman International School. “We are all passionate about this and the students are passionate about it, so it wasn’t difficult to create a strong message. I think today is a great event that shows them change is possible through small acts.”

1 COMMENT

  1. The beaches are our greatest and most beautiful asset to Cayman. Any movement to halt plastic pollution is a step forward.
    How do we tackle the pollution coming in from the ocean. That’s a maritime problem. Thank you

  2. Plastic pollution is the mess that pre-schoolers are now cleaning up on a regular basis. Wait…they also have to beg Environment Minister to do something about it.
    Isn’t is kind of backwards, to say the least?

    As for pollution coming in from the ocean, there is a Dutch “kid”, well, he is 23 now and a CEO of “The Ocean Cleanup” he founded when he was just 19 years old. They are launching the largest cleanup in history this summer. Why nobody is paying attention? Why there is no media exposure?
    “We have successfully initiated [May 2018] our 120-meter tow test unit towards its designated test pattern approximately 50 nautical miles outside of San Francisco’s Golden Gate. This is an important test before we deploy our complete system into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch later this summer.”
    https://www.theoceancleanup.com/updates/system-001-tow-test-explained/

    They also say “After successfully funding the first ocean trials, we now welcome companies and individuals to sponsor their own cleanup system as part of the large-scale roll-out of the cleanup, scheduled to start in late 2018. If you would like more information on how to be part of the largest cleanup in history, please contact us through contact us, and detail your interest.”
    A fascinating and mind blowing project.

  3. Lukishi , I agree that our beaches are one of the most beautiful assets to Cayman , and they should be kept clean and beautiful , and I applaud the kids and anyone who participate in the protection of keeping the environment clean and beautiful .
    How do we tackle the pollution coming from the ocean , is not a maritime problem, it can be anyone’s problem.
    What we need is for people to be more environmentally concerned about the issue . These politicians that go all over world pay attention to monetary issues , could also go to environmental summits and voice their opinions on our beaches too , if they cared about the environment , and so could you or the next person. But we all have should tackle the problem .

  4. Boyan Slat, is the man’s name, and you’re right. He should be lauded. His brilliant idea to clean up the planet’s oceans, will change this crisis into perhaps a resolved problem. Sadly, packaging of products still continue to be enclosed in a plastic container, that scissors sometimes can’t open. Children’s toys are triple packaged, cosmetics also. With all the crying over pollution, being eco- friendly, sustainable, recyclable, how can the packaging industry be getting worse. Human beings have destroyed much of what god has created.

  5. Everyone knows we should recycle metal, glass and plastic cans and bottles, but what about all the lids, tops and caps?

    See what could be done on a local level to bring awareness to plastic caps, lids and tops pollution.

    – Plastic Cap Recycling Contest for Schools. Kids would love to bring plastic caps of any sorts for the project. Here is an example. https://www.huntsvilleal.gov/environment/green-team/programs/plastic-cap-recycling-contest-schools/

    – Plastic caps “see through” collection bins could be installed on beaches. There is no better way to bring awareness. See how it is done elsewhere. https://www.projectaware.org/sites/default/files/inline-images/Bottle%20Caps.jpg

    – Collect plastic caps in clear containers placed at supermarkets, schools cafeterias, etc. Three IB students at The British School in the Netherlands, have set out to collect 11 million plastic bottle caps. http://blogs.ibo.org/blog/2017/07/13/an-ambitious-mission-to-collect-millions-of-bottle-caps/

    The Oceans Are So Polluted Crabs Are Living Out Of Bottle Caps https://media.globalcitizen.org/thumbnails/2f/2d/2f2dc57c-46db-47a0-82ad-adc397dcd887/hermit_crab8.jpg__1264x568_q85_crop_subsampling-2.jpg

  6. The Ocean cleanup FAQ. https://www.theoceancleanup.com/faq/

    some of the questions:
    • How can I help The Ocean Cleanup as an individual?
    “Besides monetary support, your relevant knowledge and skills may be a very welcome addition to The Ocean Cleanup. Our work requires not only scientific and technical expertise, but also assistance with legal, commercial and policy matters. If you would like to get actively involved in our work, please visit the Careers page to see our current open positions.
    You can also help us by sharing our story. Although the awareness for plastic pollution is growing rapidly, there are still many who are not aware. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube or Facebook for updates on our progress and feel free to share our content. Our project would never have been possible in the first place without the internet, and the power of the crowd.”

    • I have a boat/own a research vessel and want to help. What can I do?
    “We collected a substantial amount of plastic and data during our Mega Expedition in August 2015 and our Aerial Expedition in October 2016, which we now have analysed and compiled into a research paper, to be published early 2018.
    However, we are still open to receiving more data via our app. If you’re planning on crossing a gyre and interested in collecting data, you can download our Visual Survey app to conduct visual surveys during your voyage. The app is available through Google Play and App Store.
    When we have deployed our first cleanup system in mid-2018 in the North Pacific, we will monitor the system and all potential sea life around it for an extended period of time. If your research vessel would be available for us to use in future research like this or others, please contact us through our website contact form.
    Thank you for wanting to help! “

  7. The below comment was posted on Trip Advisor. I hope someone in DoT actually reads TA comments.

    The plastic problem
    Feb 12, 2018, 11:40 AM (thisismyscreenname92
    Idaho Springs…)
    Little Cayman is a wonderful place. We loved just about every aspect of it.
    But man, once you step outside of the resorts and the places where the beach is maintained there is a really bad problem with plastic. The week I stayed there we picked up a bunch of stuff that floated up on the beach outside our rental in order to keep that area clean, but other places it is just totally out of control, so much that it seems insurmountable. Even Owen Island had a serious issue.
    Now, I fully understand that this is a worldwide problem and that even though this trash ends up on Little Cayman’s shores that probably 99.9% of it floats in from other areas. I found a toothpaste tube that clearly came from Cuba.
    What I do not understand is that the island seems to be ignoring it. There is no campaign to pick up plastic, and if there were, there is no place to put it if you decide to “do your part”, which I would have. It seems this could be solved. For instance, we went out to Jackson’s point which was just riddled with plastic – 2-3 feet deep in places. As a tourist, understanding that this floats in from everywhere, I would have picked some up if I had a place to put it. “it’s not our trash, but it’s our shores” is a program that I’m a bit surprised doesn’t exist. A large trash receptacle at Jackson’s point would have allowed us to do some cleaning. But with no place to put it, picking it up becomes problematic. No wonder there is so much.
    I’m not trying to be critical of Little Cayman for it’s plastic problem – it is everywhere, just a bit surprised that there doesn’t seem to be anything being done about it. If I am wrong about that I’d sure love to hear about any programs that exist that perhaps I could donate to, or participate in during our next trip there – because it was a bit heartbreaking.

  8. Why can’t the government come up with a recycling program, that would keep the Islands and the beaches free of plastics, and create some manufacturing and employment . Or just melt the plastic down and ship it off the Islands . I think that if you got a few tractors equipped with huge rakes on the back end , and hydraulic rakes for the loader bucket so that the sand could be left on the beach . That could make the clean up faster and more efficiently . We have to remember that litter on our beaches , are our problems, and shouldn’t expect someone else to take care of it .

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