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The plastic problem

Idaho Springs...
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The plastic problem

Little Cayman is a wonderful place. We loved just about every aspect of it.

But man, once you step outside of the resorts and the places where the beach is maintained there is a really bad problem with plastic. The week I stayed there we picked up a bunch of stuff that floated up on the beach outside our rental in order to keep that area clean, but other places it is just totally out of control, so much that it seems insurmountable. Even Owen Island had a serious issue.

Now, I fully understand that this is a worldwide problem and that even though this trash ends up on Little Cayman's shores that probably 99.9% of it floats in from other areas. I found a toothpaste tube that clearly came from Cuba.

What I do not understand is that the island seems to be ignoring it. There is no campaign to pick up plastic, and if there were, there is no place to put it if you decide to "do your part", which I would have. It seems this could be solved. For instance, we went out to Jackson's point which was just riddled with plastic - 2-3 feet deep in places. As a tourist, understanding that this floats in from everywhere, I would have picked some up if I had a place to put it. "it's not our trash, but it's our shores" is a program that I'm a bit surprised doesn't exist. A large trash receptacle at Jackson's point would have allowed us to do some cleaning. But with no place to put it, picking it up becomes problematic. No wonder there is so much.

I'm not trying to be critical of Little Cayman for it's plastic problem - it is everywhere, just a bit surprised that there doesn't seem to be anything being done about it. If I am wrong about that I'd sure love to hear about any programs that exist that perhaps I could donate to, or participate in during our next trip there - because it was a bit heartbreaking.

13 replies to this topic
Syracuse, New York
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for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse, Cayman Islands
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1. Re: The plastic problem

THere are some efforts that go on in the Cayman Islands, but based on what I have seen, there could very easily be more.

Examples would be:

https:/…

https:/…

Then you have the Plastic-Free Cayman organization:

https:/…

https://www.facebook.com/plasticfreecayman/

They also did a "No Straw November" campaign to raise awareness of single-use plastics.

And efforts to ban single-use plastics on the Cayman Islands: https://www.change.org/p/cayman-islands-gove…

The Brac has the Cayman Brac Beachcombers: https:/…

There is no doubt that more can be done, and these organisations should be supported to make the shoreline clean, pretty, and inviting to guests and residents alike.

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Trophy Club, Texas
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for Cayman Islands
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2. Re: The plastic problem

I'd imagine the hurricanes that scoured a few islands to the east down to their top soil, have only exacerbated the problem. Sure does crystallizes some of the challenges inherent of life on a small island.

Grand Cayman
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for Grand Cayman
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3. Re: The plastic problem

Testudo is right. We have much more debris floating in from the East since the hurricanes it is unreal. There are many initiatives to control plastics here but we cannot help with what washes in except for the continual beach cleanups.

Syracuse, New York
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for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse, Cayman Islands
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4. Re: The plastic problem

Retrip, being on island, do you know of any that are more regular than the ones I have posted?

Idaho Springs...
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5. Re: The plastic problem

Some trash receptacles in key areas would be a huge help. I would have picked up a lot of trash on LC, but there was no place to put it. I think people fully understand where it comes from - but there wasn't much I could do to help with no receptacles available. Just a suggestion. :-)

Colorado
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for Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Crested Butte, Gunnison
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6. Re: The plastic problem

OP, as you can see, your comment that there doesn’t seem to be anything being done is completely incorrect. While your view is that these efforts aren’t noticeable, hopefully you now see that much is being done. Last year as part of a sustainability field trip, some of my own family was out there picking up plastic off the beach on LC.

The other part you’re not seeing is that sticking a can somewhere creates as many problems as it solves. Who’s going to pick up that trash from the can? What are they going to do with it once they pick it up? Where’s it going to go? Most importantly, who’s going to pay to pick up the trash when you’re not there and who will pay to take that trash to some final destination? These are monumental issues facing nations around the world, and adding a trash can merely changes the problem. It doesn’t solve it.

Idaho Springs...
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7. Re: The plastic problem

In the place I was staying trash was picked up 2 times a week. I wonder why cans provided for cleaning up the beaches couldn't be picked up as well.

I'm not looking for argument here, but to the casual observer (tourist) there is no public education about the problem and how people might participate in a solution.

Colorado
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for Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Crested Butte, Gunnison
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8. Re: The plastic problem

"to the casual observer (tourist) there is no public education about the problem"

Wow! After asking about why nothing is being done and that you could perhaps donate to the efforts if they exist, you were told about all sorts of efforts including public education, regulation through legislation, and children's educational programs. All of it's being done. Links have been provided. I'm sure I speak for those organizations working so hard to do what you feel is important in saying that all donations are welcome.

On LC, the main issue is that there simply aren't enough people to pick up the trash that washes ashore. By your own description, it isn't even enough to be noticeable. I mean, you're talking about public education on an island so small that there's no school, or did you not notice the relative lack of children?

California
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9. Re: The plastic problem

We spent two weeks on Cayman Brac recently. The amount of plastic garbage was saddening. A simple plan would be to put garbage cans nearby. We picked up a lot but only when we had a bag to put it in as we did not find too many garbage bins on or near isolated areas of which are many. I got a bit of a chuckle eating at Sunset Beach. The drinks had great cardboard straws with little turtles on them but they were put into plastic cups. What is wrong with using glass or rewashable plastic cups?

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Cayman Brac
Cayman Brac
Cayman Islands
Colorado
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for Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Crested Butte, Gunnison
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10. Re: The plastic problem

painnurse, Just like the OP, you're not understanding the scope of the issue. What do you do with the garbage that is placed in the cans? Where is it going to go? You're on an island that's barely a mile wide and plastic from around the world is continuously washing ashore.

https:/…

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