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Bishop's Stortford schoolgirl's letter to headteacher brings about change on plastic




Saving the sea from plastic pollution is at the top of a nine-year-old Northgate girl’s to-do list – and she has already sparked a small but vital change at her school.

Stort Lodge, Bishops Stortford. Isabella Doyle (9) has written to her head teacher regarding using reusable bottles/lunch packaging. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (9345651)
Stort Lodge, Bishops Stortford. Isabella Doyle (9) has written to her head teacher regarding using reusable bottles/lunch packaging. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (9345651)

Isabella Doyle, who is in Year 4 at the Cricketfield Lane primary, was compelled following a school trip to write a letter to headteacher Jane Tanner to highlight a way the school can become more eco-friendly.

The youngster dreams of becoming a marine biologist when she grows up and has been doing a Blue Abyss project at school, learning about life in the sea and the impact of plastic pollution. As part of it, Isabella and her 59 classmates visited Sea Life Adventure in Southend.

The teachers asked the children to take their lunch in all-disposable plastic packaging so everything could be thrown away afterwards.

This did not sit well with Isabella as she knew it would have been better for the environment if the children had instead taken their reusable water bottles and lunch boxes.

Isabella, whose younger sister Eva is a Year 2 pupil at the school, has also been learning about persuasive letter writing, so she decided to put the skill to good use.

Stort Lodge, Bishops Stortford. Isabella Doyle (9) has written to her head teacher regarding using reusable bottles/lunch packaging. Isabella (centre) with mum Jo and sister Eva (7). .Pic: Vikki Lince. (9345653)
Stort Lodge, Bishops Stortford. Isabella Doyle (9) has written to her head teacher regarding using reusable bottles/lunch packaging. Isabella (centre) with mum Jo and sister Eva (7). .Pic: Vikki Lince. (9345653)

She penned a hand-written letter to Mrs Tanner and told her: “I strongly suggest that from now on we bring a packed lunch box and reusable water bottle so that 60 plastic bags as well as 60 disposable bottles are not ruining our environment.”

Isabella carried the letter in her school bag for a few days before mustering the courage to hand it in.

Mum Jo said: “I think it’s great that they’re learning this as part of the curriculum at a young age, but it would be good to see that backed up by actions to reflect it. I think they’re old enough at nine to carry around a little backpack.”

Isabella Doyle's letter to Mrs Tanner (9154539)
Isabella Doyle's letter to Mrs Tanner (9154539)

Isabella’s efforts to encourage change have paid off: Mrs Tanner has confirmed that the school’s policy on plastic packaging will be amended.

She said: “Isabella raised some very valid points about the irony of using plastic packaging for her lunch on the trip.

“Whilst it is important that children bring their lunch in a disposable bag, we will change our policy to ensure that we encourage children to use recyclable paper bags instead of plastic bags.”

Previously, Isabella and a friend did a litter pick after she was inspired to tackle pollution by TV programme Blue Planet II.

"I'm proud of her for trying to change things," Jo said. "These small changes are important."



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