(CMR) To celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday, Plastic Free Cayman hosted a small beach clean event with Protect Our Future and Miss World Cayman on Monday, June 14, on Old Robin Road, just west of the Queen’s Monument.
More than 20 volunteers removed over 375 pounds of trash from the beaches. On average, each volunteer hauled over 18 pounds of trash.
Most of the debris collected was plastic and microplastics. Bottle caps, plastic cutlery (spoons and forks), toothbrushes, fishing line and rope, bits of polystyrene (Styrofoam), and parts of plastic bags were the most common debris. Volunteers said the trash was endless and everywhere. Trash was embedded in rocks, sargassum, sand, and at the base of all of the plants that line the coast.
The Plastic Free Cayman team continues to push for a National Clean up campaign and plastic ban policy similar to what has been done in other nations around the world. Last year the EU took a hard stance on several single-use plastic items. These included: plastic cutlery, straws and plates, plastic bags, cotton buds, and polystyrene cups. These are also some of the most common items washing up on Cayman Islands' shores.
Miss World Cayman Rashana Hydes said she was very grateful to be part of the clean-up exercise.
“I was extremely pleased and grateful to start my morning by making a positive impact in my community. With today being Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s birthday celebration, it was fitting to honor her through this act of service. It was disheartening to see so many plastics of all shapes and sizes polluting our beautiful shores,” she said.
Hydes said she was filled with hope seeing the volunteers, which included parents and children, support the work that Plastic Free Cayman is doing.
“As the world moves forward, we must come together to create effective, practical policies to eliminate single-use plastics,” she added.
Thomas Dickens, Protect Our Future leader, noted that “contrary to the extent to which we normally observe on the western side of the island, a very large percentage of the plastic was clearly of foreign origin. It only goes to show how much of a global issue this is.”
Nicholas Corin, Protect Our Future leader, said while the beach cleanup was successful, “it was really upsetting to see how badly affected the north side of our island is.”
There is a lot of washed-up garbage in comparison to other beaches, but also, it is clear that our own litter laws are not being enforced, which is disappointing,” he added.
Carina Ecclefield, PFC clean-up coordinator, said Monday's clean-up was motivating.
“We had a number of new faces, and even with a smaller turnout, the volunteers were mighty! Our new volunteers saw how important it is to consider the environment with our daily decisions. If each of us makes even a small effort, we can be part of something bigger together,” she said.