Over the past few years, we have seen Caymanians make a significant shift towards thinking in more eco-friendly ways, where sustainability and environmental vulnerability now takes precedence over the immorality of 'efficiency' that creates endless amounts of waste
However, this change of heart may be due to the fact that our many years of environmental damages swept under the rug are now visible, and at the forefront of Cayman's socio-political landscape. Perhaps it is this frustration towards failed recycling strategies, unfulfilled sustainability promises, ignorance towards mangroves, the devoid of climate change awareness and more that has led locals and residents alike to feel a sense of environmental urgency in 2021.
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The Global Conservation Collective
In July 2021, a group of global conservationists – The Conservation Collective (CC) – drew their attention towards environmental protection in the Cayman Islands. Founder Ben Goldsmith acknowledged that only 3% of donated funds from local organisations are directly given to environmental causes in Cayman.
The CC are currently seeking methods of raising funds from individuals and businesses with strong local interests in improving and overhauling the state of Cayman’s environment in positive ways. They have offered to help coordinate the creation of new, local foundations to raise funds, particularly for protection efforts and other local causes, such as preserving the mangroves. Currently, they’re aiming for $100,000 worth of ‘donor commitments’ by early 2022, with 12 funds currently in their network that donate towards what they deem ‘effective’ grassroots environmental initiatives. We hope their intervention empowers and strengthens the environmental initiatives already present in our local community, so that they can have a much greater impact.
E-Waste & Landfill Fires
The George Town landfill, what is happening with it and the problem of littering has, again, dominated conversations in 2021. Another concern raised by the landfill, despite worries of the size of it, are increased fires started by the improper disposal of electronic waste, also known as ‘E-waste’. E-waste are technological materials such as mobile phones, wires and batteries, which are built in obsolescent ways, meaning they cannot often be properly recycled. In January 2021, a fire broke out at the George Town landfill due to an old cell phone battery catching fire. Although a small surface fire, workers will have to keep on top of potential re-ignition in future. To learn more about this issue, see our Cayman's Green Scene page.
However, we now also need to tackle littering, which has become an ever-present problem. Residents are reminded that under the Cayman Islands Litter Act (1982), anyone caught littering is subject to a $500 fine or 6 months imprisonment. And ultimately, we encourage all residents to take part in clean-ups. If you have a dog, take a plastic bag with you and pick up rubbish when you walk them. Alternatively, get involved with Plastic Free Cayman and their monthly beach clean-ups, which are well publicised and show just how much plastic and other rubbish washes up on Cayman's beaches.
If you are looking for more information on how to limit what you produce and further your knowledge on Cayman's environmental state, the organisation Protect Our Future draws attention to such issues in a comprehensive way. Visit their website to get involved in making a change in Cayman's ecosystem.
Want to increase your awareness of the environmental issues facing our community? Read our guide to Cayman's Green Scene, which outlines current environmental issues and initiatives to combat them.
You can do your part to help make Cayman greener! Take all your recyclables to the various recycling centres conveniently located across Grand Cayman.Read More
One of the most pressing environmental issues for the community is the George Town landfill site and the progression of Project ReGen.Read More
A significant factor of sustainable living includes making the right choices when it comes to food. In Cayman, much of our food is imported and a considerable amount of energy, fuel and water is used in the entire process of growing, distributing, storing and cooking our food.
There are steps you can take to ensure your work environment is greener: make sure to turn off lights, computer monitors and the air conditioning, when you leave the office at night; only print when necessary; collect office newspapers and take them to the Humane Society; recycle your printer toner cartridges.Read More
Whether you own or are renting a home, making environmentally friendly choices will help preserve Cayman's beauty for generations to come.Read More
In recent years, the paradigm has shifted and ‘going green’ is no longer just a trendy tag line; it has become the standard when building in Cayman.Read More
'Greener' Swimming Pools
Swimming pools are a fantastic addition to any household. Not only do they help us cool off, especially in the summer months, but they are great to relax in as well. They are also ideal for entertaining friends and family.
The downside is that they do consume a lot of energy. Whether it is filtering the water, heating the water or running the pump, not to mention keeping it clean, all of it requires energy. There are however several steps you can take to help the environment and keep your energy bills down at the same time – so you can get on with relaxing in the sun.
As a pool owner there are several steps you can take to help keep your energy bills down:
- Cover it up: A pool cover will reduce heat loss, water evaporation and chemical consumption by up to 70%. It also helps keep your pool clean, meaning you’ll have to run your filter pump less often.
- Think about the pump: A pool filter pump is the second largest consumer of energy in a home behind your A/C. If you install a two-speed, variable speed or solar powered pump, it will pay for itself very quickly with energy savings.
- Environmentally friendly products: Consider using a chlorine generator, which turns ordinary salt into chlorine and is kinder to the environment and your skin. Use LED lights for lighting.
To find out more about swimming pools contact Oasis Pool & Spa or Pool Patrol.
Cayman’s goal of obtaining 25% of its power from renewable resources by 2025 has raised discussion for alternative ways of doing this.Read More
Getting Around by Electric Car
Aside from the use of electricity to air condition our homes and businesses, the biggest offenders of pollution and fuel consumption is cars. Car pooling and the use of buses, when available, can help ease congestion and reduce emissions on Cayman’s roadways. Bicycling is another option, but most Cayman roads lack a safe shoulder to ride on, so it can be dangerous.
Encouragingly, there is support for electric cars, helped by the Government reducing import duty on electric and hybrid vehicles from the minimum (current) rate of 29.5% (for vehicles) to a flat rate of 10% for electric cars and 15% for hybrid cars.
Some more good news: Cayman has electric car charging stations located all around Grand Cayman. Charge your car for free!
Those without electric vehicles can benefit from Refuel gas station, Cayman’s first provider of modern, environmentally-friendly fuel. The facility stocks five grades of fuels including three grades of E10 (10% ethanol), B5 (5% biodiesel) and B20 (20% biodiesel). Ethanol and biodiesel have higher octane and cetane ratings (respectively) than petrol and diesel alone and lower emissions than other boosters. These modern fuels don’t produce as many damaging exhaust emissions and reduce lifecycle CO2 emissions (although some CO2 is produced as a by-product, the plants grown to create the fuel absorb carbon dioxide meaning that the net carbon emissions is much lower than fuels such as petrol). Most of the fuel in the US and UK contain ethanol in its petrol and biodiesel in its diesel in an effort to reduce emissions, but Refuel is the first petrol station to market it in Cayman. The station is located opposite the airport post office in George Town and plans for a second station are already in place.
Check out these local companies that sell electric cars:
There are several ways you can become actively involved in preserving and protecting Cayman’s environment and “greening-up” our Islands. Luckily there are many organsations in Cayman working towards this goal. So get involved today!Read More