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About the project

Preventing plastic pollution, one piece at at time.

Working in partnership with 18 organisations from across France and England, Preventing Plastic Pollution sought to understand and reduce the impacts of plastic pollution in the marine and freshwater environment. By looking at the catchment from source to sea, the project  identified and targeted hotspots for plastic, raised awareness with local communities and businesses, and produced extensive guidance on effective solutions. 

The €14m Preventing Plastic Pollution project was approved by the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme, which committed €9.9m in funding through the European Regional Development Fund.  The project worked across seven pilot sites: Brest Harbour, Bay of Douarnenez, Bay of Veys, Poole Harbour, and the Medway, Tamar, and Great Ouse estuaries. 

The information gathered from research in these areas allowed the cross-Channel partnerships to tackle some of the four million tonnes of plastic waste that enter the sea via rivers every year.


Around 80%

of plastic in the ocean originally comes from rivers



of marine litter is made up of single use items



of Europeans worry about the environmental impact of plastics



of Europeans think that industry and retailers should try to reduce plastic packaging

Where were we working?

Preventing Plastic Pollution established seven pilot catchments to determine a baseline of the amount & sources of plastic pollution, and a further 2 catchments were recruited during the project’s lifetime. The pilots can be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of a transferable catchment based approach to plastic pollution, and our ambition beyond the project is for other catchments to adopt and develop the approaches laid out in our guidance packs.

Click on the map to view the catchments.

Project objectives and results


PPP aimed to improve the quality of Transitional Waters across the France (Channel) England area (SO 3.2) by:

  • Developing a scalable and transferable mapping tool to provide quantifiable evidence of sources and quantities of plastic pollution in catchments.
  • Developing an effective portfolio of innovative interventions to reduce plastic waste in or entering catchments.
  • Transforming the behaviour of target groups and demonstrating best practice.

Project results:

PPP will improve water quality with:

  • Good ecological status (GES) in the pilot catchments increased by an estimated 6.1% (WFD Descriptor 10)
  • €20.9 M – €67.8 M harm avoided, calculated based on 107.63 Tonnes of plastic removed equating to 1,469 km (61.92 km2 ) of rivers and coasts cleared.
  • Over 700 organisations supported to make plastic reduction commitments.
  • An additional 43 catchments adopting PPP tools and methodologies over the project lifetime.

What exactly is Preventing Plastic Pollution?

Watch our short film to find out more.