2023 Litter Report coming soon

Stop UK’s rivers being used as open sewage dumping grounds

England’s waterways are under serious threat from toxic pollutants. On the 7th July we cancelled a Planet Patrol paddleboarding clean up due to dangerous water quality conditions. Recent rainfall meant the local water companies storm drain had overflowed and raw sewage was released into the river.

Other toxic pollutants come from various sources including:

  • discharge from manufacturing and industrial plants

  • discharge from agriculture, fish farming and animal rearing

  • seepage from domestic and industrial landfill sites

  • urban surface water run-off

One of the biggest pollution sources is water companies and sewage treatment plants responsible for managing human waste. More than 400,000 spills of sewage leaked into England’s rivers and seas in 2020. If you want to challenge the current legislation that allows these privatised companies to pump excess levels of untreated sewage into England’s rivers then we must act.

Here’s a few things you can do to get started:

  • Later this year founder Lizzie Carr and Planet Patrol will be launching a nationwide campaign to fight this problem of dire water quality and toxicity. It’s something we have been working on behind the scenes for the last year and your support will be needed. Want to get involved? Drop an email to hello@planetpatrol.co and let us know what you can do. It will be a group effort so any time / resources you can offer will be appreciated

  • Sign this petition by Surfers Against Sewage calling for government to provide better protections for coastlines

  • Find details for your local MP here and write to them asking to support an Environmental Bill that affords better protections for our waters

  • Join Planet Patrol’s mailing list to stay up to date.

Want to get out on the water but not sure whether it’s safe?

You can check real-time water quality levels in coastal areas and along England’s rivers.

Accounts to follow on Instagram that are tackling this issue in England:


But this isn’t an issue affecting the UK alone.

Donate: You can support international organisations fighting threats to waterways around the world too.

From Amazon to the Mekong, from the great rivers of China to Africa’s Congo River, a wave of big dams threatens some of our last iconic rivers. International Rivers is an organisation working hard to protect dam builds being approved across the global south.

Native American Rights Fund provide legal assistance to Indian tribes, organisations, and individuals who might otherwise go without adequate representation and they work across issues around land and water preservation as well as civil rights.


Ted Talk from Kelsey Leonard who is water scholar and protector seeking to establish Indigenous traditions of water conservation as the foundation for international water policy-making.


The River Is in Us: Fighting Toxics in a Mohawk Community by Elizabeth Hoover

Indigenous Water Justice by Jason Robinson et al

Learn more about the water crisis in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India here

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