Macro plastics in the North West River Basin District


Plastic pollution is found around the world.  The presence of plastic in rivers and coastal waters has a negative impact on habitats, wildlife and humans.

With the production and consumption of plastic set to continue, urgent action is now required.  Large scale, multi-faceted and multi-sector approaches are essential to tackle the problem, including public engagement to encourage a shift in behaviour from excessive consumption to a more conscious and sustainable way of living.

Previous work from Natural Course included baseline research assessment of the types of plastic pollution commonly found in the River Darwen (sanitary waste and plastic bottles and bags coming out top), and qualitative research that indicated there was a disconnect between peoples own plastic use and their local environment.  A targeted campaign was delivered with Keep Britain Tidy to encourage people to in the area to take up the ‘plastic challenge’ which provided resources that demonstrated the links between plastic use and impact on aquatic ecosystems.

What we are doing:

We upscale our previous work at a catchment level by building capacity and knowledge within the North West River Basin District, with the aim of reducing plastic pollution in the Irish Sea.  This will involve:

  • Communicating international and national policy, government initiatives, science and actions to key stakeholders and new audiences who are vital to the delivery of sustainable, long-term behavioural change.
  • Using Action Plan information to guide partners and stakeholders to deliver their own evidence backed, place-based campaigns and sustainable actions within their local groups and communities.
  • Creating a network to exchange knowledge, share campaign ideas and connect people to the blue planet at a regional scale.

Who else is involved?

The Environment Agency, catchment partners, Turning Tides, Keep Britain Tidy, North West Living Seas Marine Programme, local businesses, religious centres, health centres and plastic free groups.

Project location:

North West River Basin District

Latest update:

Hayley Tamaddon calls for North West residents to Plug Their Plastic Use – Natural Course

Plug Your Plastic Use – campaign toolkit

Plug Your Plastic Use with Hayley Tamaddon – competition T&Cs