On a rocky stretch of beach on Cayman Brac, a rare seabird has made its nest on a carpet of plastic bottles, broken pipe and other ocean debris.
Around 15 volunteers for the charity Plastic Free Cayman cleared nearly 800 pounds of trash from a short stretch of beach on the south side of the island Sunday. The beach is a popular nesting site for the island’s regionally important brown booby colony.
Cassandra MacDowell, the Brac coordinator for Plastic Free Cayman, said the sheer amount of debris was having an obvious effect on the birds.
“Some of the birds had built their nests out of debris, using small pieces of plastic. It is a big problem,” she said.
The charity established a presence in the Brac earlier this year and has held multiple cleanups at various points around the island.
Ms. MacDowell said the majority of trash collected appeared to have been swept on to the island’s beaches from overseas.
She said the sheer amount of it was concerning and would require concerted and consistent efforts from volunteers to control.
“I was very excited that so many people came out to help clean up this weekend,” she said.
Among the debris collected were scores of plastic bottles, bottle caps and nylon fishing line, in some cases broken down so significantly it was impossible to remove.
Ms. MacDowell urged anyone who wants to do their bit to keep Cayman’s beaches clean to go to the Plastic Free Cayman website and volunteer to help out or take the charity’s “345 pledge” to reduce use of plastics.
For more information, visit www.plasticfreecayman.com.