It really is an Upstream Battle

Citizen science results from marine litter surveys from source to sea revealed.

On World Oceans Day, we have published a report setting out a number of key findings obtained from citizen science data from our award-winning Upstream Battle campaign.   The report provides a timely reminder that 80% of marine litter starts life on land, and that litter dropped in, or on, the banks of our waterways accumulates and flows inevitably to the sea.

Litter surveys were conducted along the banks of the Clyde and the 38 rivers and streams that run in to it by volunteer anchor groups as part of the campaign to assess the extent of the problem and to help tackle marine litter from source to sea.

Key findings include:

  • Plastic snack wrappers were the most common item found.
  • Cigarette litter made up 8% of total counted items.
  • Flytipped items, including wood boards, tyres and construction material, were commonly found drawing attention to another challenging behaviour.
  • Dog fouling was recorded at more than 60% of sites. Bagged poo was more common than unbagged, a result we also found as part of our recent #TurdTag campaign.
  • Sewage related debris is a massive problem for some areas – one survey recorded over 700 cotton bud sticks, and another almost 400 wet wipes.

These results come a week after a slight easing of lockdown when we have seen increased frustration at the lack of respect some people show our parks, riverbanks and beaches – leaving them strewn with litter and waste

Paul Wallace, our Campaign and Social Innovation Manager said,

“With 80% of marine litter coming from land it is clear to see the link between the litter left by riverbanks upstream and in parks and open spaces close to water in recent days with the horrifying volumes recorded in our oceans.

The data collected by dedicated supporters as part of our Upstream Battle Campaign has given us a snapshot of littering behaviours around the Clyde.  I want to pay tribute to the dedication of the anchor groups, and we will now be working with the groups and other stakeholders to drive action at a local level to tackle marine litter. 

“We know that the challenge we face in turning the tide on marine litter is going to be an ongoing Upstream Battle – and we are calling on people to join us in a commitment to collectively tackle marine litter at source and protect the places that matter to us.”

Read the full report here.


08 June 2020

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