St Helena Government’s Environmental Management Division (EMD) has received a grant of £72,000 from the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to establish a monitoring and education programme which aims to reduce the amount of plastic entering the marine ecosystem, establish plastic recycling, and reduce the cost of waste disposal.

The project –  ‘Sustainably managing plastic waste on St Helena to minimise marine debris’ –  will be delivered in partnership between EMD’s Marine Section and Waste Management Services (WMS), the Saint Helena National Trust and SHAPE – St Helena’s Active Participation in Enterprise.

The grant will be used to:

  • Establish a marine debris monitoring programme along St Helena’s coastline
  • Monitor the use of single use plastic on-Island and how much of this enters St Helena’s waters
  • Educate and raise awareness of marine debris and its negative impact
  • Locally manufacture plastic recycling equipment
  • Purchase dedicated bins for plastic recycling for distribution around the Island
  • Promote and incentivise innovative reuses of plastics on-Island

EMD’s Marine Conservation Officer of EMD, Rhys Hobbs, said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to work with multiple organisations across the Island to continue to keep our beaches and marine environment free of plastic debris whilst also delivering a long term plastic recycling solution.”

 Environmental Risk Manager, Mike Durnford, added:

We’re committed to helping our customers keep St Helena clean. This project, designed to raise awareness of the negative impact of marine debris and enable innovative recycling and reuse of plastics on-Island, is a hugely exciting milestone in our sustainability journey and in line with Waste Management Services’ mission statement of ‘working in partnership with customers for a cleaner and greener St Helena’. Community engagement, to responsibly dispose of plastic waste, is critical for the project to be successful.”

Work is already underway, with the Public Recycling Facility at Horse Point Landfill Site benefitting from a new plastics waste bay (photo attached).

The Saint Helena National Trust will collaborate with EMD and SHAPE and will contribute to the project by continuing their beach cleans, dive litter picks, marine debris data collection, public engagement and school education programs.

Marine Project Manager of the Saint Helena National Trust, Beth Taylor, said:

We are thrilled to be part of this wave of change on St Helena. This collaborative project is ambitious, innovative, and wide reaching in its scope and it shows just how committed the Island is to tackling marine debris. I can’t wait to see the physical evolution of plastics from marine debris to useful and unique items, developed by the wonderfully creative community at SHAPE.”

SHAPE will contribute to the project by conducting life cycle assessments of the plastic items imported to the Island, educate the public about ways to minimise their plastic use and waste, as well as how to properly dispose of it on-Island, conduct quarterly beach clean-ups in order to collect plastics for recycling and collect data, recycle new innovative products made from the plastic waste and market the finished upcycled plastic products both locally and internationally.

Recycling Supervisor of SHAPE, Tracey Stroud-Belgrove, said:

As the author Robert Swan said, ‘the greatest threat to our environment is the belief that someone else will save it’. This is a fantastic opportunity for multiple organisations and the community to work together in protecting the environment and protecting our marine life. SHAPE is extremely excited to be able to create new recycled products from everyone’s efforts.”

This programme is a great opportunity to help involve residents of St Helena in protecting their marine ecosystem from the damage caused as a result of plastic waste.

For further information, please contact Marine Conservation Officer, Rhys Hobbs, on tel: 22270 ext 213 or via email: rhys.hobbs@enrd.gov.sh.

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 SHG

20 July 2018

 

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