Cayman cleans up for Earth Day

Andrew Skinner tackles some seaside garbage at Governors Beach.

Nearly 2,000 volunteers in 125 teams spent Saturday morning removing tons of garbage from the roadsides and beaches of the Cayman Islands.

The Chamber of Commerce Earth Day Clean-up brought out volunteers from all walks of life, including company CEOs, business owners, school children and families.

“We had 125 clean-up teams at the very end and again it was another outstanding success,” said Chamber CEO, Wil Pineau, of the annual event.

By  mid-morning, much of the work had been done and neatly piled garbage bags could be seen on the sides of roads from North Side to West Bay, awaiting pick-up. Pineau said the Department of Environmental Health would be collecting the bags this week from all the sites.

For over 21 years, the Chamber has motivated businesses from the private sector and members of the public to put on a pair of gloves, pick up a trash bag, and head out to local parks, beaches, litter hot spots in the districts and side roads to pick up any unsightly and unhygienic trash.

Not only did volunteers pick up garbage, they also separated recyclable materials into blue bags.  Pineau said teams covered the entire island, but many people decided to select their own neighbourhoods or areas were their businesses were based.

“When we look around the island at how clean it is, the volunteers did a really outstanding job,” Pineau said.

However, he said some of the feedback he was getting from volunteers was disturbing; for example, the number of large items that have been discarded in vacant lots. He said they found old televisions, barbecue equipment, discarded chairs, car tyres and batteries.

“It’s just disturbing because these are things that should end up in the landfill,” Pineau said. He said he hoped government would step up enforcement of the anti-littering laws, that people would report the illegal dump sites, and that offenders would be fined.

“We are delighted the community responded the way it did, but we are still disappointed that people continue to throw litter by the roadside and near their communities. People should know better … maybe the only way it will stop is if they are fined or caught in the act,” Pineau said.

Volunteers received free T-shirts, which were designed by Guy Harvey, and were treated to a free breakfast after the clean-up efforts.

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