A CHARITY worker and environmental campaigner from Bexley has become one of the capital's first London Leaders.

Monica Saini, of Upton Road, Bexleyheath, was named by London Mayor Ken Livingstone last week as one of 15 people he hopes will act as an inspiration to others for their environmental work.

Miss Saini, who works at Christian Aid's London headquarters is trying to persuade businesses and customers to reduce the amount of plastic packaging they use in lunchtime meals.

She said: "As a London worker, I see the wastage every day with lunchtime sandwiches wrapped in unnecessary plastic bags and plastic coffee containers.

"They are only used for about an hour and travel just a few yards from where they are bought."

The 25-year-old, who is also a south east Asia ambassador on climate change, says she has seen the waste plastic bags can cause.

She explained: "I went to a landfill site in India and it was just a sea of plastic bags for as far as the eye could see, being picked up and carried by the wind."

Miss Saini plans to work with firms in the City to try and work out plans to cut back on the amount of plastic packaging, tailoring the plans to each company's individual needs and those of their customers.

If she succeeds, the plans will become a "toolkit" for use elsewhere in London, including Bexley.

London Leaders is an idea from the London Sustainable Development Commission, which hopes to transform the capital into a world- class sustainable city, by making use of inspirational environmental figures.

Miss Saini has committed to the project for a year, which she says is a reasonable time to try and establish it and get businesses and customers onboard.

She added: "Many of these food shops have outlets right across London, so if I can succeed in the City, I can move it out to other parts of the capital."