Islanders Asked To Take Part In Sea Activity Health Survey

sea and rocksResearchers from Exeter University want islanders to take part in a national survey that could shed light on the effects of marine pollution on our health.

They’ve teamed up with Surfers Against Sewage to develop the online questionnaire, which was launched yesterday.

Researcher Anne Leonard is leading the study.

She wants islanders who have used the sea for any activities such as swimming, canoeing or windsurfing to tell them whether they’ve suffered any ill effects recently.

But unusually, they’re also looking for people who haven’t done any water-based activities to take part, so they can compare the two groups.

Anne says they want to know whether you’ve suffered any minor illnesses leading to sickness, stomach pains or vomiting.

She says people often associate stomach complaints with what they’ve eaten, rather than the activities they’ve been undertaking.

They’re also interested to find out if you’ve had any eye or ear infections.

Anne says the survey is quick, taking no more than ten minutes, and the more people they can get to take part, the more confident they’ll be in their data.

Although monitoring standards have improved on Britain’s beaches, Surfers Against Sewage say that short-term incidents can occur which aren’t picked up. In 2013 they expressed concern over the ageing sewerage infrastructure on St Mary’s, when there was discharge witnessed by locals and visitors at Rat Island during Gig Weekend.

Anne says the results of the research could lead to improved monitoring standards.

The survey is available here and will be open for the next two weeks.