A masters student from Appledore is carrying out a research project into single-use plastics on Lundy Island.
Daisy Lavington is studying a MSc in Sustainability at the University of Southampton, and is spending the week collecting data from passengers on MS Oldenburg.
She will be asking visitors to the island about any single-use plastics they are bringing, as well as sustainable options they have such as reuseable bottles and Tupperware containers for packed lunches.
The 21-year-old’s passion for fighting plastic pollution has come from a lifelong love of the sea.
“I grew up in Appledore; I’ve been visiting Lundy since I was born and my parents are really involved in the dive club, so the ocean has a special place in my heart,” said Daisy.
“I’ve been following the plastics problem since I was about 10-years-old.
“There has been lots of hard science going on around the impact of plastic on animals, the environment and biodiversity.
“But there has not been much in social sciences. People are the problem and the solution, and that’s why this is so important.
“From my observations so far in the Lundy shop, they are already doing some really great things, like selling reuseable bags and loose fruit and veg.”
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Daisy hopes her research project could open doors for further research on other islands.
“Lundy is a great place to start, because everything that goes onto the island had to come off,” she said.
“My dream would be to replicate this project on other islands; for example, the Maldives has a huge plastic problem.
“At the end of the day, we wouldn’t be living the lives we are now without plastic; we shouldn’t be demonising it.
“But it’s the waste management system which needs to step in where we do need plastic because right now we can’t deal with our own waste.”
Daisy hopes to complete and publish her findings by the end of her masters degree in September.
Lundy Island is currently undergoing a £300,000 project to build a water treatment facility on the island, which is set to be completed later this year.
The project is being coordinated by island owners, The National Trust, and island leaseholders, The Landmark Trust.
Derek Green, Lundy general manager, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support Daisy with her research whilst helping to better understand how we can further reduce plastic use on Lundy.
“The island and Oldenburg are committed to reducing our use of single use plastics and we are presently in the process of replacing our water treatment system to further reduce our reliance on plastic water bottles. “Sue Waterfield, our general stores manager, has taken up the challenge as our island plastic free champion and Sue will be working closely with Daisy to analyse the results of her research.”