Volunteers remove 1.5 tons of trash from Little Cayman beaches

Volunteers found huge quantities of shoes during the weekend beach cleanup on Little Cayman. - Photo: Submitted

Thirty volunteers removed more than 1.5 tons of trash from the shores around Little Cayman over the weekend, including at one beach that had so much debris on it, the clean-up teams described it as being like a ‘small landfill’.

Members of the Plastic Free Cayman teamed up with the Little Cayman National Trust, Central Caribbean Marine Institute, the Department of Environment, Southern Cross Club, Little C Tours and Protect Our Future, for the two-day clean-up effort.

Volunteers transport beach debris from Owen Island to Little Cayman.

They visited three sites – Mary’s Bay, where they took 1,700 pounds of rubbish off the beach; Charles Bright, where they removed 830 pounds of debris; and Owen Island, where they cleaned up 600 pounds.

The volunteers found so much garbage at Mary’s Bay, they said it “could easily be mistaken for a small landfill”, according to a press release from Plastic Free Cayman.

“Sadly, most of the debris collected was plastic and microplastics, although there were hundreds upon hundreds of shoes that were also collected,” Plastic Free Cayman organisers said in the release.

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“Much of the plastic is now becoming microenvironments for various species. Bottle caps are now homes for marine species. Even baby mangroves are growing through and around plastic bottles.”

Each year, Plastic Free Cayman surveys the Sister Islands in an effort to track the amount of plastic pollution removed from various sites.

Miniature marine creatures are making their homes inside of plastic bottle caps.

The group’s founder Claire Hughes is continuing to push for a national clean-up campaign and to call for a ban on single-use plastics.

Dejea Lyons, of Protect Our Future, said, “As people of such beautiful islands, we have to stop being a part of the problem and start being a part of solution. If we just make simple changes like using reusable bags when shopping or a bamboo toothbrush, we will stop being a part of the plastic epidemic. Additionally, coming out and lending a hand in the monthly beach clean-ups is such a huge help. It has to be a collective effort.

“There is a quote that Narendra Modi once said and it was ‘Individual efforts can bring excellence but only collective efforts can deliver effectively’ and in this case, this quote is so applicable to the issue at hand. Coming together as a community is the most effective way to combat this issue.”

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