Leading Plastics Campaigners Discuss Riverine Litter Problem

5th December 2018

Hugo Tagholm and Martin Dorey joined our river and marine litter experts Alice Thomson and Amy Slack in Bristol on Tuesday 4th December to discuss how to tackle the plastic pollution in our rivers and seas.

We hosted the event, ‘How Can we Stop the Flow of Plastics from Rivers to the Sea’, in partnership with sustainable clothing brand Finisterre to mark the end of our #CleanRiversCleanerSeas campaign.

Our event saw leading campaigners Hugo Tagholm, CEO of Surfers Against Sewage, and Martin Dorey, founder of the #2minutebeachclean and author of No. More. Plastic., joined by Eunomia’s riverine and marine litter experts Amy Slack and Alice Thomson.

Alice drew from her experience working on our riverine, marine and microplastics projects across the world to identify where river pollution is focused, and how a global effort is needed to improve waste management to tackle the influx of plastic into our rivers. Hugo focused on the legislation that can be used to prevent litter and plastic pollution, with an emphasis on extended producer responsibility and deposit return schemes, and the success of the ban on single-use plastic bags from supermarkets, while Martin discussed the inherent problem with society and throwaway culture – highlighting a recent incident where a delivery of his new book, No. More. Plastic., was shrink-wrapped by a distributor. Martin talked about the everyday action that we can all take – switching from a single-use plastic bottle to a reusable one, and investing in a reusable coffee cup, among other actions.

Tom Warry - Martin Dorey 

Pictures courtesy of Tom Warry.

The panel’s presentations were followed by a debate, chaired by our Senior Consultant and marine litter expert Amy Slack, before the floor was opened to the audience for questions.

The evening concluded with the announcement of the winner of our #CleanRiversCleanerSeas photo competition, which aimed to raise awareness of the prevalence of riverine litter, and saw pictures of river pollution from across the world shared across social media.

The winning photo shows the build-up of plastic on the Wellow Brook near Radstock, Somerset, and was submitted by Harriet Alvis of the Bristol Avon Rivers Trust. Harriet was awarded a prize of a Litus Waterproof supplied from Finisterre’s latest range of clothes, which features an outer shell made from partly recycled material.

Harriet Alvis - Clean Rivers Cleaner Seas

Alice Thomson said:

“I think last night touched on how plastic pollution is symptomatic of a bigger problem that we have with valuing resources and using them appropriately. It was great to meet other people passionate about the issue, and their interest and enthusiasm gives me optimism that we’ll see momentum maintained and significant change in the coming years. Hugo and Martin’s presentations made it clear that this change can’t come soon enough!”