The Environmental Management Division (EMD) has received several reports from dive parties that marine pollution in St Helena’s waters is increasing, especially leaked fuels and oils which have been visible in the sea close to Jamestown. EMD has confirmed these reports through observations and monitoring.

Environmental Risk Manager Mike Durnford commented:

Some pollution incidents are of course accidental – others occur because people are unaware of the negative impact of what they’re doing, or are wilfully blind to the consequences of their actions.

“Leaked fuel or oil, vehicle batteries, construction waste, bottles, cans and disposable food containers are all examples of items that are classed as marine pollution. Such items should never be deposited into the water, or left in any place where they might be washed into the water by the tide.”

The Environmental Protection Ordinance, enacted in February this year, informs members of the public about preventing environmental pollution (Part 74.c (i)).

Pollution Prevention – What Can I do to Help?

The public can assist in the following ways:

  • Many boat tour operators have recognised the negative impact waste is having on the sea, and operate a zero waste policy. If you are a boat tour operator please check the serviceability of your boat to prevent any fuel or oil leakage, and please do not allow passengers or crew to throw litter, including cigarette butts, overboard
  • Toxic substances such as fuels, chemicals, batteries, varnishes and plastics of any kind should never be deposited into the sea
  • Please use public litter bins provided or take your litter home with you. Any litter left from beach parties and events can be very detrimental
  • Please try to minimise the amount of lost fishing gear. Hooks, nets and line can cause entanglement and marine death long after items have been lost or discarded

Environmental Protection Ordinance – Penalties and Fines for Pollution Incidents

  1. (1) A person is guilty of an offence if he discharges, deposits or otherwise releases into the environment or knowingly causes or permits to be discharged, deposited or otherwise released into the environment, polluting matter.

Marine Conservation Officer Elizabeth Clingham concluded:

St Helena prides herself in having a pristine marine environment and all of us have an obligation to look after it.  In one way or another, we all benefit from resources the ocean provides. 

“We appeal to all marine users to think about their actions and the impact careless behaviour can have on our precious marine environment. Please look after it!”


5 July 2016

2 thoughts on “MARINE POLLUTION

  1. Some of the narrow bays on the Sandy Bay side of the island were covered in tarry and other oil based residues. Have they been cleared? These are not caused by St Helena Residents but ocean going vessels who discharge when no one is looking. Can St Helena get help from the UN to clean these areas and identify the culprits?

    • Dear Ian – thank you for your message. The tar ball issue at Sandy Bay Beach is recognised , previously EMD has arranged voluntary effort events to rid the beach of this hazardous waste, however due to the current capacity of the section they are unable to offer a designated clean-up service for beaches.

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