Upstream Battle

80% of marine litter comes from land.
Washed into gutters, blown into streams, lost down drains: litter is carelessly discarded.
So to tackle marine litter, we have to stop litter’s journey from source to sea.
Upstream Battle raises awareness, gathers evidence and inspires action.
We connect communities, individuals, schools, and the private and public sectors.
We all have a part to play in keeping our waterways clean and protecting our seas.

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. 


Happening Now...

Upstream Battle on the Clyde

Upstream Battle on the Clyde

Upstream Battle launched on the River Clyde in October 2018, from the Clyde's source in the Lowther Hills, along its major tributaries such as the rivers Kelvin and Leven, to the Forth and Clyde canal, and to the Firth of Clyde, we're connecting thousands of people in a common goal: to stop litter from getting into the Clyde.  

Upstream Battle on the Tay 

Upstream Battle on the Tay

Running from Ben Lui to the North Sea, the River Tay is the longest river in Scotland.  In August 2021 we launched Upstream Battle on the Tay and its tributaries including the River Tummel, Earn and Almond. We are working across four council areas: Perth and Kinross, Dundee City, Fife and Angus to connect communities and clean up the River Tay.

12.7m tonnes of plastic enters the marine environment every year.
80% of marine litter comes from land.
88% of people living in Scotland believe the amount of litter in rivers is a problem.

How do we do this?

Help us clean up our rivers and protect our seas

Upstream Battle on the Clyde funders

Upstream Battle on the Tay funders


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