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Upstream Battle®

What is
Upstream Battle®?

It’s estimated that up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic gets into the sea each and every year – that's a truck full of litter a minute. It's killing wildlife, threatening ecosystems and habitats, and is extremely difficult and expensive to clean up. 

Many initiatives that tackle marine litter are targeted at cleaning up our beaches or trying to remove litter from the sea once it's there. But, as 80% of all marine litter comes from land, we also need to face this problem upstream, where litter is washed into gutters, blown into streams or carelessly discarded. Worryingly, we are seeing a steady increase in the amount of land-based litter, which means there's a greater chance it'll end up in the sea. 

We must stop this cycle of litter and prevent it from entering the sea in the first place.

Upstream Battle® focuses on changing littering behaviour to prevent marine litter at source along two rivers, the River Clyde and River Tay.  We are working along the entire length of both rivers and their tributaries, to raise awareness, gather evidence and inspire action. 


tonnes of plastic enters the marine environment every year.


of marine litter comes from land.


of people living in Scotland believe the amount of litter in rivers is a problem.

How do we do this?

Collect data

Are you an individual that wants to do something about litter and the state of the marine environments? A community group located near a waterway? Or a watersports enthusiast who wants to see a cleaner river? Then we need your help.

How? Whilst we know that 80% of marine litter is estimated to come from land, we want to know in detail how, where or what is getting into our rivers. By working with you, communities, local authorities and businesses along rivers, we want to create Scotland's first comprehensive river litter data set.


Find out how to be part of this citizen science project and take action today!
Local action

Since we started in 2018 we have identified and helped set up Anchor Groups along rivers who are taking action to keep their rivers clean. In doing so we have inspired hundreds of people to survey and litter pick along their local waterway, preventing litter from ending up in our seas! We want to inspire individuals to get involved with the campaign and clean up their local waterway too! Anyone and everyone can be involved in this campaign.

We also love to work with businesses who want to take some practical action in there communities and to promote what we can do to tackle marine litter.


Find out what getting involved might look like for you
Working with young people

We want to help young people to understand that littering behaviour that begins on land impacts on marine litter.

Perhaps you are looking do to some volunteering as part of your Duke of Edinburgh Award?


Looking to get involved with the Upstream Battle® campaign in your Scout group?

Check out what's on and our resources for young people
Raising awareness

We want to make sure that everyone understands the extent of the marine litter problem and that everyone living near a waterway is motivated to keep their waterway clean.  

You can help raise awareness of the journey of marine litter from source to sea through sharing messages using our Upstream Battle® social media cards, videos and posters. Designed for you to easily download and share with your friends, community and in the media.

Campaign resources to help raise awareness

Keep updated

We support the