Plastic-shelled crab found at beach cleanup

A hermit crab using plastic trash as a shell was found at a beach cleanup last summer. - Photo: Jennifer Moseley

Images of crabs using plastic and other items as shells are plastered on websites throughout the internet, but Jennifer Moseley never saw one in person until she participated in Plastic Free Cayman’s beach cleanup Saturday at Beach Bay.

There, a hermit crab using what looked to be a plastic cap for a home roamed among piles of sargassum seaweed and other debris.

Ms. Moseley said that some people at the cleanup took the crab to a different part of the beach and found it a proper shell. Still, it “was a little disturbing” that plastic is so prevalent that it’s now being used by wild creatures, she said.

Along with the plastic-shelled crab, cleaners at Beach Bay also gathered four bags of plastic recyclables, two bags of aluminum cans, one bag of glass and two bags of Styrofoam, according to Ms. Moseley.

Beach Bay is usually one of the most polluted areas on Grand Cayman because of tides constantly washing up trash there, but on Saturday it was relatively clear due to previous cleanup efforts by a nearby development. But there was still enough litter to keep the roughly 40 volunteers busy, said Ms. Moseley.

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Plastic Free Cayman typically schedules beach cleanups for the first weekend of each month, and more information can be found on the organization’s Facebook page.

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  1. There have been decries to stop plastic packaging by the manufacturers of cell phones, toys, cosmetics, (the hard impossible plastic packaging, that you can’t even open with scissors), the plastic rings that hold soda cans and bottles together, that have been caught in fish. You can think of so many others. To no avail. The manufacturers ignore our pleas, because attractive packaging promotes sales, and because of theft.