(CMR) Plastic Free Cayman removed more than 14,000 pounds (over 7 tonnes) of trash from Cayman’s beaches this year. Over the weekend, Plastic Free Cayman, CayOcean, and the MCGI church joined more than 45 local volunteers to clean up Barkers Beach, and support Protect Our Future’s latest “Our Future is NOT single-use” campaign.
This holiday clean-up marked Plastic Free Cayman’s last beach clean of 2021. Since Plastic Free Cayman’s establishment in 2017, more than 6,000 pounds (3 tonnes) of garbage, primarily marine debris, has been removed from Barkers National Park.
The event also included appearances from Cayman COP26 representative Dejea Lyons and Martin Lancaster, Breast Cancer Foundation advisor and clean beach warrior, whose clean-up efforts have raised thousands of dollars for charity.
Protect Our Future co-leader Nic Corin commented, “It seems as though every time we go back to Barkers Beach, the plastic pollution situation gets worse. We need to take action. It is our hope that Cayman will implement the single-use plastic ban that was in the works two years ago.”
After removing more than 500 pounds of debris this weekend, Chloe Bentick-Lalli, the Protect, Our Future campaign leader, added, “It’s sad to see our National Park filled with plastic. Our future is not single-use, and we need to wake up and engage in real action.”
While much of the marine debris comes from other nearby islands, Protect Our Future said there is also much local litter, especially in Barkers.
The leaders of Plastic Free Cayman said they fully understand the convenience of plastic in much of our daily lives, especially during the current global pandemic. Lateral flow tests, masks, and gloves are just a few of the single-use plastics that continue to be a part of the current situation. However, Plastic Free Cayman said this should not become an excuse for continuous local litter, a poor waste management system, and inaction regarding banning unnecessary single-use items.
Like the students of Protect Our Future, Plastic Free Cayman said they too would like to see a future driven less by consumerism. Instead, they want products that are a more sustainable part of a circular economy. This marks Plastic Free Cayman’s fifth year of clean-up efforts.
As a nonprofit partnering with thousands of local and international volunteers, they have removed over 25 tonnes of waste from Cayman’s beaches.
Unfortunately, 2021 marked a significant increase in plastic waste on Cayman's beaches, up more than 30% from 2019. Plastic Free Cayman said this is a clear indication, the problem is not going away, which is why a call to action is so important.
“In many ways, our young people are leading the charge on this issue, when we are the ones who caused it,” Plastic Free Cayman stated.