Surfers Against Sewage


Founded in the 80s by a group of surfers concerned about water quality, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) has been at the forefront of tackling ocean plastic pollution for the last decade. Their conservation and campaigning work is having a positive impact on the health of our oceans, beaches, waves and wildlife, as well as engaging a large number of volunteers in the cause.

Areas of intervention

  • Policy. SAS puts pressure on politicians, both through the all-party parliamentary group for ocean conservation which they created, and through their active involvement in The Climate Coalition.

  • Grassroots. SAS empowers communities to improve their local areas, and inspires the next generation through a schools programme.


  • Their "message in a bottle" campaign led to the UK government's planned introduction of a bottle return scheme by 2023, similar to what they have in Germany.
  • The Climate Coalition influenced the UK governement's decisions to phase out coal power stations and ratify the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • SAS organises and provides equipment for 2,000 beach cleans each year, involving 100,000 volunteers.
  • SAS has empowered 700+ communities to work towards becoming plastic free.
  • 99% of designated bathing waters around the UK are now classified as "sufficiently hygienic", up from 27% in 1990.

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