COMMUNITY-based campaign, Live Here Love Here, has received an additional £100,000 in funding from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs for the Marine Litter Capital Grants Scheme.
The additional funding follows an initial £198,000 package that has been awarded to organisations, community groups and businesses across Northern Ireland to help prevent litter from entering our waterways, both in coastal and rural areas.
Now in its second year, the scheme has reopened applications to organisations, community groups and businesses across Northern Ireland who have not already received a grant from the first round of applications this year.
Helen Tomb, Manager of Live Here Love Here, said: “The additional funding will allow us to award many more organisations across Northern Ireland and enable them to bring ideas to life that make a difference to waterways in their local community.
“By working together, we will make a positive impact when it comes to improving our blue spaces and protecting marine biodiversity, along with supporting the health and wellbeing of our communities by contributing to how our waterways can be enjoyed.”
Earlier last month, the campaign’s parent organisation Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful released its yearly Marine Litter Report, which revealed that 2021 was the worst year on record for occurrences of marine litter in Northern Ireland. The report reveals four in five waste items found on beaches are single-use plastics, such as food and drinks containers.
Ruth Clarke, Environmental Policy Advisor at DAERA, said: “Having seen firsthand the positive impact that communities and groups across Northern Ireland are making to our marine areas as a result of the grants scheme so far is fantastic and we would encourage more groups across the country to apply for these funds now that the applications have reopened. Together we can do our bit in reducing our marine litter levels so that we protect our waterways and see much more positive results in next year’s report.”
Helen added: “Applications are now re-open until 25 November and this much-needed additional funding comes at a crucial time with our Marine Litter report showing us that we all need to take much more care in protecting our wonderful shores and waterways from further litter pollution.
“We all enjoy our wonderful shores, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic, which is fantastic to see and something we encourage. However, to continue to enjoy for years to come and to ensure that flora and fauna can thrive in these ecosystems, we need to become more conscious as to how much waste we use on a daily basis and how we dispose of it.”
The findings of the Marine Litter survey form part of a global database run by OSPAR, the international body responsible for protecting the north-eastern Atlantic, and will help identify the scale of the problem and find solutions to address it both globally and here at home.
n Applications are open until November 25 and are available for projects across Northern Ireland, not just coastal areas. For more information on how you can apply, visit: www.liveherelovehere.org/marinelittergrants
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