More than 80 people turned out on Sunday in George Town to clean the streets, collecting more than 12,000 pieces of litter in two hours.

Plastic Free Cayman, which organised the exercise, usually carries out beach clean-ups, removing plastic debris from the shorelines, but in its latest effort, the non-profit wanted to collect data to present to government, so targetted the highly trafficked downtown George Town area.

Volunteers worked in teams to record all the 12,000 items removed, the organisation said in an email.

The most common pieces of litter found were cigarette butts, with more than 5,000 of those collected. The next most common items were plastic wrappers, followed by metal bottle caps, plastic bottles and glass bottles.

Plastic Free Cayman stressed that cigarette butts are not bio-degradable as they are made from polymers of plastic that often end up in water systems.

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Single-use plastics, which include cigarette butts, comprised 80% of the items collected, the organisation said.

Smoking-related items, such as cigarette butts, discarded lighters and cigarette packets, accounted for 45% of the litter collected, while 40% was from food and beverages.

In the email, Plastic Free Cayman called for local anti-litter laws to be better enforced and for the government to put in place a policy to address the use of single-use plastics.

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