Minister Bryan urges Caymanians… Clean up! | Loop Cayman Islands

The content originally appeared on: Cayman Compass

Today the Cayman Islands celebrates the 52nd Earth Day, together with more than a billion people in over 193 countries. This year, in honor of Earth Day, Minister of Tourism, Kenneth Bryan is encouraging those who live in Cayman to do their part and “clean up!”

“This year I encourage every person who calls the Cayman Islands home to take positive action, specifically in addressing the problem of littering,” said Mr. Bryan today.

In 2019, Loop Cayman reported that Cayman produces the 32ndlargest amount of plastic waste per capita in the world, generating more than twice the amount of plastic waste per person as China, which is the world’s largest plastic polluter in absolute terms. (World Bank)

At the time, Cayman was producing 5,106 tonnes of plastic waste per year, which is a relatively small amount, given the island’s small size, but on a capita level, at 0.252 kilograms of plastic waste per person per day, plastic waste production is quite high.

The official theme for Earth Day 2022 is ‘Invest In Our Planet’ and this message aligns with the remit of the Ministry of Tourism & Transport, in working closely with other Ministries, Departments and Organisations, to raise awareness of the importance of a clean, green and healthy environment for all to enjoy.

Mr. Bryan has stated that clean ups are a significant way that those who live in Cayman can contribute to the environmental health of the islands.

Said Minister Bryan:

In keeping with the theme of Earth Day, let us invest our time by volunteering to improve our communities through events like the longstanding Chamber of Commerce ‘Earth Day Clean Up’ or the efforts of Plastic Free Cayman who both depend on the support of businesses and private citizens alike.

In order to preserve the Cayman Islands’ natural beauty and improve its image, Cabinet has approved the establishment of the Cayman Islands Beautification Task Force (CIBTF) to lead an Islandwide cleanliness and accountability campaign; formerly known as the Cayman Islands Beautification Committee.

The Task Force is one aspect of Mr. Bryan’s vision to implement solutions to address the challenge of littering and illegal dumping in our Islands.

“As the Minister for Tourism, I am ever mindful that the natural beauty of our Islands plays a major role in attracting tourists to our shores, and we take pride in showcasing our amazing attractions and pristine waters internationally. Keeping our landscape and seascapes free of debris is therefore integral to our status as a world class tourism destination and vital to our visitors’ ability to enjoy our unique plants and wildlife in their natural state,” said Minister Bryan. “I therefore encourage each of us to take seriously our responsibility to keep our homes, yards and surrounding communities clean.”

In a report on the connection between plastic waste and tourism, the United Nations Environment Programme has indicated that “while tourism contributes 10 per cent of global gross domestic product and accounts for one in 10 jobs worldwide, UN Environment’s research has shown that the industry’s use of key resources, like energy and water, is growing commensurately with its generation of solid waste, including marine plastic pollution, sewage, loss of biodiversity and greenhouse gas emissions.”

Given that 80 per cent of all tourism takes place in coastal areas, tourism-dependent countries are more susceptible to plastic pollution. Small island developing states such as Cayman tend to struggle with waste management issues and are typically more vulnerable to the effect of marine plastic pollution, given their high level of dependence on the blue economy.

Minister Bryan has listed the following simple beautification objectives for each person living in Cayman: removing personal trash when leaving the beach, not throwing trash out of cars and onto roadways and ensuring garbage bins are managed properly, “to keep the Cayman Islands cleaner, greener and even more beautiful.”