Skip to main content

Upstream Battle campaign launches on the Tay


19 August 2021

We've launched Upstream Battle on the Tay and are calling for communities ‘Tay’ tackle litter from Source to Sea.

Communities along the River Tay and its tributaries are being urged to support our award-winning campaign Upstream Battle as it surges forward.

The launch of Upstream Battle on the Tay follows the release of exclusive new research conducted on people in the Tayside area which shows that over 90% of people would like more action to be taken to prevent litter from getting out to sea; and over 80% of people would be more interested in learning about the actions they could take to prevent their rubbish from making its way to the sea.[1]

With 80% of litter in the sea coming from the land, the campaign aims to highlight how litter gets from rivers to the marine environment, and how everyone can help prevent it from getting there in the future.

Launched in response to the huge public and political concern around marine litter, over the last two years Upstream Battle – the first source-to-sea campaign of its kind in Scotland - has supported communities to raise awareness, gather evidence and inspire action in Glasgow and the Clyde Valley.

Building on the success of the campaign on the Clyde, Upstream Battle is now flowing to the majestic River Tay – Scotland’s longest river.

This autumn ten ‘Anchor Groups’ will be recruited across Tayside.  These volunteer groups, located along the Tay and its tributaries - the rivers Almond, Braan, Dighty Water, Dowally Burn, Earn, Isla, Lyon and Tummel - will be supported to adopt and monitor a stretch of their local river or burn using a citizen science toolkit. The data collected will provide insight into the types of litter found along the River Tay and the amount of litter that has the potential to enter the wider marine environment.

Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform Màiri McAllan said: “We know that people want to see more action to tackle litter and keep our waters clean and the Upstream Battle campaign will help make that happen. The campaign has already been a success on the Clyde so it's welcome news that it's now coming to the Tay. Marine litter is a blight on our natural environment. This project will bring local communities together and support them in making a real difference to our water ways and seas.”

Barry Fisher, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful said: “We welcome the broad support we have received for Upstream Battle on the Tay, from local authorities, businesses and local communities. Our research clearly shows that people across Scotland are deeply concerned by the amount of litter finding its way into our rivers and oceans. And with 80% of people surveyed in Tayside agreeing that they would be more interested in learning about the actions they could take to prevent their rubbish from making its way to the sea now is the time to take action.

“This campaign is about changing behaviour - we need to think differently about what we consume and how we dispose of it. The evidence is clear - the drinks bottle or crisp packet discarded in our streets, has a fair chance of ending up in our river and polluting the ocean. That has to stop, it’s time to look after our rivers, protect our seas and look after our environment.”

Partner funders of the Upstream Battle campaign, include Marine Scotland, Crown Estate Scotland, Coca Cola EuroPacific Partners (CCEP), RSA and Ocean Conservancy.   The campaign is also supported by a broad range of public agencies, and all four local authorities which the River Tay and its tributaries pass through.


[1] Diffley Partnership, ScotPulse commission by Keep Scotland Beautiful 2021


We support the