Citizen-Scientists Support a Plastic-Free River Mersey

Community members, non-profit organizations and corporations including LyondellBasell collaborated to launch the Plastic Free Mersey project in July of 2021.

This citizen-science initiative trains and supports volunteers to collect valuable data about the plastic found along the River Mersey and its 23 tributaries that flow from the Pennines to Liverpool Bay in the north of England.

In addition, the project focuses on identifying and quantifying plastic and other litter on riverbanks and foreshores in inland and estuary sites to promote reduced littering, increase recycling and provide essential information to the plastics and waste management industries to support
circular economy solutions.

The project is creating and testing an effective model of collaboration between NGOs, academic research and the plastics industry to tackle the plastic pollution in waterways and generate solutions based on robust evidence and methods. These solutions combine behavioral and managerial changes at individual, community, business and government levels which can be applied to other river catchments in the UK and abroad.

In October 2021, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, joined volunteers for a river clean-up event on the River Alt in Knowsley, Liverpool. During this event, 15 bags of litter were removed from the river and its banks, including plastic food wrappers, bottles and bags.

"We are very proud to join all the volunteers, Thames21, Mersey Rivers Trust and Plastic Free Mersey project partners in supporting this brilliant campaign. It’s great that residents get to take part in helping to do their bit for the environment and we hope that it will encourage them to reduce, reuse and recycle their plastic,” said Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor, Liverpool City Region