The project is part of a package of funding and support for UK Overseas Territories announced by the Government

At the same time, the Darwin Plus scheme opens today for the latest round of applications to fund conservation and environmental projects in UK Overseas Territories. Around £3 million is available.

Darwin Plus will deliver on commitments set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan in UK Overseas Territories around the globe.

St Helena is an island located in the South Atlantic Ocean with an estimated population of around 4,550.

According to Defra, 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 the 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, Defra said.

‘Crucial activities’

Commenting on the funding package, 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.”

Plastic pollution in the South Atlantic Ocean could threaten St Helena’s “huge array of fish and marine life,” along with coral ecosystems, Defra said.

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,” Defra reports.

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