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5 Steps we can all take to help make our River Mersey plastic free

5 years ago

5 Steps we can all take to help make our River Mersey plastic free

We can’t recycle our way out of this problem. The River Mersey is full of plastic.

We speak to Greenpeace to find out what we can all do to help.


The news that the River Mersey contains more plastic pollution than the most plastic-polluted waters on earth has come as a huge shock. Researchers collected 942 microplastic pieces by sampling the water surface at two different sites along the River Mersey, for half an hour each time, equating to 2 million pieces of microplastic per square kilometre. More than double than found at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Greenpeace is now calling for the government to put ‘legally-binding’ plastic reduction target in the upcoming Environment Bill. Ocean Plastics Campaigner, Fiona Nicholls said: “Plastic production is set to quadruple in the next 30 years and already some countries are refusing to accept waste from the UK. We can’t recycle our way out of this problem.

“Awareness is so high at the moment as we begin to make changes in our behaviour. We’re used to seeing those visually upsetting images of wildlife affected by plastic. During the research I saw swans caught up in cable ties and voles eating a plastic coffee cup lid.

“Recycling has its place but ultimately the problem is much bigger than this. We must urgently shift out focus towards plastic reduction. Small fish are ingesting the microplastics which causes death and also strange changes in hormones, breeding and toxicity. We don’t yet know the impact of this but it is horrifying.”

So what can we do to help reduce single-use plastic and ultimately the alarming amounts of microplastics in our River Mersey and beyond. A return to the ‘old ways’ would vastly improve things. Just a couple of decades ago we were still returning milk bottles to be cleaned and refilled, we’d weigh ingredients from wholefoods shops and we all knew what lbs and ounces were, and this may once again become common practice to rid the world of single-use plastic.


Here’s 5 things we can all do to help reduce single-use plastic…..

1 – Make Your Voice Heard

The most important thing we can all do to help reduce single plastic waste is to make our voices heard. Go to www.plasticfreerivers.org.uk and demand your local MP supports to Environment Bill. Simply enter your postcode and follow the instructions.

2 – Re-useable Water Bottles

Did you know that 16 million water bottles are lost from the recycling process and end up in landfill or incinerated, every single day. Get a re-useable water bottle for less than £1 and do your bit.

3 – Re-useable Shopping Bags

Say no to that endless supply of bags in the kitchen cupboard and invest in some re-useable tote style ones instead.

4 – Coffee Cups

We know coffee cup lids are plastic but did you know the cups themselves are coated with a fine layer of plastic too which means they’re very difficult to recycle. In fact there’s only one plant in the country that can recycle them. Get yourself a re-useable one.

5 – Leave Plastic Behind

Here’s an idea that could make a huge difference. The next time you’re at the super market check out, leave your plastic packaging behind. It’s an easy way to make a stand, reduce your take home plastics and if more of us start doing it, it’ll very quickly become the norm. Who else has had enough of useless packaging?! Well, together we can say no.


If you do one thing today, to go www.plasticfreerivers.org.uk and urge your local MP to back the Environment Bill. 

We want to know your hints and tips for going plastic free at home and at work. Drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and we’ll share them on our socials.

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