Count Your Litter

If we want to get rid of marine litter in our seas and oceans we need to understand how, where and what types of litter are getting into our local waterways.

And you can help us! We have designed a survey with accompanying guide to help you count the litter you find on a waterway near you.

We are building Scotland's first comprehensive river litter data-set. This data-set can help us to understand exactly what we need to do to target and support those responsible for littering to clean up their act, inform decision making and, ultimately, reduce litter locally.

We have already analysed a data set from Upstream Battle on the Clyde. We published our first ever citizen science report in June 2020. 

If you are a school that wants to take part scroll down to the bottom of the page.

It's easy - there's only 3 little steps involved:

Step 1 Identify a suitable area

Step 2 Record the litter    

Step 3 Share what you find

By taking part, you are helping us paint a picture of the litter problem at a local level. This means we can act before it's too late; before it reaches our seas and oceans.


More details on how to get involved

Step 1: Planning before

  1. Download and read our Upstream Battle surveying guide and survey sheet
  2. Pick your site and decide on a date to conduct your litter count

Doing a litter pick too?

  1. If you are going to add a litter pick to your survey please tell Clean Up Scotland about your litter pick
  2. Contact your local authority to organise litter picking equipment for the event and arrange an uplift for the litter you collect
  3. Promote your event to your broader community to get others involved, tagging @KSBScotland @CleanUpScotland and using hashtag #UpstreamBattle #MakeLitterCount

Step 2: On the day

  1. On the day, make sure you brief any additional volunteers on how to do the survey, including any safety requirements and thank them for being involved
  2. Count and record any litter found
  3. If doing a litter pick undertake a clean up of the area

Step 3: After your survey

  1. Spread the word that you helped take action (don't forget to tag us @CleanUpScotland @KSBScotland #UpstreamBattle #MakeLitterCount)
  2. Once you are finished you can submit your survey data with Upstream Battle on our website.

For any further information on organising the litter pick component of your event please see our Clean Up Scotland info pack. This pack will guide you in detail through the steps involved in organising your own successful litter pick. 

If you have any questions get in touch.

Email us: upstreambattle@keepscotlandbeautiful.org

Citizen Science for Schools

We want schools to participate in the Upstream Battle citizen science project. And it can also provide you with data to develop your measurement techniques. We have developed the following resources to assist you to conduct a survey with your pupils:

Don't forget to check out the Eco-Schools seven elements curricular map and the curricular map showing experiences and outcomes related to the litter topic.

Once completed send your data to: upstreambattle@keepscotlandbeautiful.org or upload it onto our website (you will need to register an account)

Meet our Anchor Groups

Our Anchor Groups will lead our Citizen Science project. They will adopt and monitor a stretch of their local river or burn across the Clyde valley using our citizen science toolkit. The data collected will provide insight into the types of litter across the Clyde valley catchment and the amount of litter that has the potential to enter the wider marine environment.



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