You could help us stop plastic polluting our oceans, by catching it first in our rivers

When did you last see a river or stream free from plastic?

The deepest ever dive to the bottom of the ocean in 2019 found a plastic bag and sweet wrappers in the Mariana Trench. We are not deliberately dumping plastic into the sea, so how is it getting there? Help us investigate plastics in rivers, so together we can stop their long-lasting pollution legacy.

Birmingham-in-RiverbedsWe don't yet know the full risks plastics pose to us, but every day we are eating and drinking microplastics (tiny pieces smaller than a sesame seed). Plastics enter our water in so many ways: micro-beads used in toothpaste and shower gels, fibres from washing polyester, nylon and acrylic clothing, and larger plastic items that have broken down in the environment. You can help investigate how big the problem is and how we can solve it.

Help understand the extent of the plastic crisis

Professor Stefan Krause and his team have produced a toolkit for sampling water and river sediments around the world, to measure the extent of the problem. Reliable data is vital to assessing the plastic pollution in our river networks, and will underpin work to establish and tackle risks to both human and environmental health. By supporting our research of plastics in rivers for instance near you, you can help us create a global picture of plastic pollution, so we can design solutions that address it efficiently and prevent long-term consequences.

Professor Stefan KrauseProfessor Stefan Krause needs your support

'Our models already suggest that rivers hold a thousand times more plastic than the seas. Even if we all stopped using plastic right now, there would still be decades, if not centuries-worth of plastics being washed down rivers and into our seas. We're getting more and more aware of the problems this is causing in our oceans, but we are now only starting to look at where these plastics are coming from and what harm they are causing in rivers.'

Make a donation

You can help expand the team, to help them analyse all the river data and test for other contaminants faster, through a gift starting at £5 a month.

Give time

Thank you to everyone who has helped collect water samples to test more rivers around the world, using one of Stefan Krause's toolkits. We are hard at work analysing the samples - watch this space for more volunteer opportunities. 

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Learn more about Birmingham's research into plastic pollution in rivers
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