Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution harms wild fish and their waters

Plastic pollution is devastating nature around the world, and the UK's wild fish are no exception.

The problem begins upstream, in our rivers - where a shocking 50% of aquatic insects now contain microplastic.


Plastic pollution is frequently described as an ‘ocean epidemic’, but it is everywhere in our environment, especially in our rivers - where it has sadly entered the food chain.
Around 80% of marine microplastics come from freshwater run-off, and there is an entire period where they persist in rivers before reaching the ocean.
Animals cannot distinguish plastic from food. Consequently, they may stop eating nutritious and substantial food when ingested plastic tricks them into thinking they're full.

Ingested plastics are deadly - not only do they suck up chemicals which are passed on to animals, but they do not break down properly and can cause immense suffering and death.

What are we doing about it?

Let's keep microplastics out of our waters and wild fish!

Rivers are under just as much pressure from plastic as our oceans. We want steps towards proper measurement of microplastics in our rivers, and action made on the back of these measurements to protect water life from contamination. 

Our two main objectives are:

Improved awareness and education of the threat of plastic pollution to wild fish and rivers, not just marine!

A monitoring protocol and standard for our waters. We can't tackle it without understanding the extent of the problem!

How are we working towards this vision?
We are now committed to being a single-use plastic free organisation, something that is reflected in everything from our purchase decisions, to our coffee machine, to the packaging we use.

We are working with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) to raise awareness about the connectivity of plastics from source to sea. We have developed the infographic below to help teach more people that when it comes to plastic, rivers and oceans go hand in hand.

We are building our own network and action plans with current freshwater microplastics experts; for example ensuring that it is an issue being more frequently addressed in Blueprint.

S&TC are partners in the first ever coordinated global microplastics river survey with University of Birmingham.

We have collected our water and sediment samples in the River Itchen, which are now on their way to the lab to be analysed for microplastics. Keep an eye on our social channels and news to see what we find!

Latest plastics news

From source to sea: S&TC unite with Marine Conservation Society (MCS) to highlight plastic’s destructive journey

  Present at every stage of their journey, wild fish are facing yet another threat: plastic pollution. We’ve teamed up with Marine Conservation Society to highlight the issue, as we start to build a campaign which aims to educate on, and ultimately tackle, the enormous plastic problem our wild fish are facing. Plastic Pathways The continuous increase […] Read More

Plastic Rivers

Plastic Rivers: An overlooked but essential element of the global plastic problem We are all familiar with the shocking plastic-related headlines and imagery that has filled our media channels over the past year: sea turtles with straws up their noses, the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ and fears about plastics in our seafood. But our plastic […] Read More

We rely on your support to protect wild fish and the places they live.

By donating or joining as a member you will be making a huge contribution to the fight to protect the UK's waters and ensure a sustainable future for wild fish.

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