Plastic, the miracle material invented 112 years ago, has morphed into the scourge of the modern era. Reports abound about tons of plastic debris washed up on shores, swirling about in oceans and rivers and found inside the bodies of fish.

Efforts are under way worldwide to halt the widespread use of items made from plastic and to clean up the seemingly never-ending deposits of plastic bottles, cups, bags and packaging material. A notable all-volunteer effort to fight this scourge is in force in the Cayman Islands, its team passionate about reducing single-use plastic and raising awareness.

“Plastic pollution is a huge threat to the health of our oceans and to all of us,” said Claire Hughes, founder of Plastic Free Cayman, which started as a grass-roots movement in 2017 and last year became a nonprofit organization. “We’ve all got to work together – individuals, businesses and governments to make changes and to make them soon.”

Plastic Free Cayman’s volunteers not only host monthly beach cleanups, they also have a bottle cap drive and a new recycled item called Eco Bricks, a plastic-free school initiative in conjunction with the National Trust for the Cayman Islands. They monitor the islands’ only trash-collecting seabin, located at the Cayman Islands Yacht Club.

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