More than 120 volunteers, including students, parents, teachers and community members, took part in an effort to clean up a previously pristine East End beach on Sunday.

Rising before dawn to start the cleanup at the beach beside Eagle Ray’s Bar & Grill, the volunteers managed to remove more than 1,600 pounds of waste from the site, despite threats of torrential showers and high winds.

Children as young as 3 years old joined Miss Cayman Caitlin Tyson in the cleanup.

Sponsored by Plastic Free Cayman and Red Sail Sports, this back-to-school beach cleanup also featured an educational booth directed at all demographics with the goal of making people aware of their consumption habits and the effects of bioaccumulation.

The booth, which was presented by Cayman International School students, included reusable alternatives to plastic straws, that were available for purchase, and the effects of degrading plastic toothbrushes, lighters and microplastics in the sand and water sources.

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Many students, from both public and private schools, were able to obtain community service hours and hope to attend future cleanups.

Although most of the trash has been successfully removed from this one area, the greater problem of waste contamination remains prevalent across the islands, organizers said.

Volunteers sought for Saturday trash ‘audit’

The trash collected on Sunday joins garbage from previous beach cleanups organized by Plastic Free Cayman throughout this year, inside a large dumpster in the Department of Environment’s parking lot on North Sound Road.

The dumpster contains some 1,700 pounds of garbage collected from the beach cleanups.

The waste will be sorted, cleaned and “audited” Saturday afternoon by a group of volunteers, who will try to determine exactly how much trash has been collected, of which types, and what can be recycled.

The group is asking that no one places anything in, or take anything out, of the dumpster before the trash being sorted on Saturday.

Volunteers are welcome to join in Saturday’s sorting effort from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Department of Environment, 580 North Sound Road.

Another cleanup by Plastic Free Cayman and Parley, this time on Cayman Brac, is being organized for the weekend of Oct. 5 and 6, and all volunteers are welcome.

Cayman International School seniors Jack Paolini and Madison Imparato contributed to this story.

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