The Government has announced a package of funding and support for UK Overseas Territories.
The new projects will see a scheme to reduce and monitor plastic pollution on the island of St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean and a new data collecting and reporting system for Montserrat to help create long-term sustainable fisheries.
At the same time, the Darwin Plus scheme today opens for the latest round of applications to fund conservation and environmental projects in UK Overseas Territories. Darwin Plus will deliver on flagship commitments set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan in the UK Overseas Territories around the globe.
The new scheme on St Helena will aim to reduce the amount of plastic used by those living on the island and will establish a recycling programme for waste plastic. As part of this project, a marine debris monitoring programme will be established along St Helena's coastline to better understand this issue. Local school children and communities will be engaged in the project through an educational outreach programme.
Environment Secretary, Michael Gove said,"We must protect our oceans and marine life from plastic waste if we are to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it. Protecting and enhancing biodiversity in the UK's Overseas Territories will help to make crucial activities such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry and tourism more sustainable."
During June, the St Helena National Trust Marine Team and the St Helena Government Marine Section and four Prince Andrew School students walked to Sharks Valley on the island for a beach clean-up. More than 1,000 plastic bottles, 1,540 pieces of polystyrene, 50 fishing buoys/floats and 124 flip-flops and shoes were collected by the volunteers.
The island has a huge array of fish and marine life along with coral ecosystems and plastic pollution in the South Atlantic Ocean could threaten these species and their habitats. Amongst a wide range of migratory birds that make the island their home, the Saint Helena Plover is the symbol of the island and also known locally as the Wirebird.