“We all know who is doing it, call them out when you see them!” said East End MLA and Leader of the Opposition Arden McLean in a rallying cry against litterbugs last week.
McLean was addressing a crowd of some 60 people who attended an East End public meeting on Thursday. The meeting was primarily to address to public fears over a potential dengue outbreak. However, the issue of illegal dumping quickly became a sticking point.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary transmitter of the dengue virus, among other diseases, is thought to be breeding in litter strewn throughout Grand Cayman.
“The Aedes aegypti mosquito is adapted to live amongst us, and they can do so very well through the litter that we have in our yards,” said Department of Environmental Health Director Richard Simms, who was also in attendance.
Simms blamed a ‘toothless’ litter law as part of the reason why his officers were unable to properly prosecute litterbugs.
“I’ve referred several cases to the DPP (Office of the Department of Public Prosecution) since 2018 and I still haven’t seen any results,” said Simms. “Ultimately, there is no real deterrence in the law.”
McLean responded, “The law does have teeth, they’re just soft.”
He added, “People aren’t afraid,” saying that people were illegally dumping right in front no littering signs.
To combat the illegal dumping, the DEH has placed a bulk waste container at the East End Civic Centre. The hope is that residents will take the litter from their yards and dump it in the container, which will be cleaned a minimum of once a week. The desired result is to reduce the places for the Aedes Aegypti to breed, as well as a cleaner community.
“The excuse used to be George Town is too far, and we don’t have anywhere here to dump our trash,” said McLean. “Well, they’re out of excuses now. There is a container by the civic centre, so tell them to go take it up there.”
But McLean’s calls for a cleaner community don’t just stop at his constituency border.
“This is our country, it doesn’t matter where you see them littering, call them out,” he said to applause and cheers from the audience.