This series features one of UK’s top marine conservation organization. Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) is a charity organization that brought together like-minded individuals who were tired of seeing human created wastes being channeled into the seas and oceans. Through education, campaigns, and community action; they work to ensure UK beaches and oceans are environmentally clean. Founded in early 1990s, SAS has grown to become the most influential charity organization advocating for sustainable sea waters.

Mission and Values

As stated on their website, SAS has a candid resolve to: “Inspire, unite, and empower communities to protect the oceans, beaches, waves and wildlife.” In their bid to keep the marine environment clean, they have made tackling of marine plastic pollution their top priority; however, other issues they also engage in include: improving water quality and proper sanitation, coastal development, wildlife conservation, and curbing climate change.


SAS was founded in 1990 by a group of Cornish surfers who got fed up with marine pollution that had become rampant during the 1980s. The marine debris was hampering their favorite sea surfing and swimming sports, further motivating their course. Privatization of water companies in the late 1980s was a tip of the iceberg. Conversations about the need to have clean bathing water began taking center stage. The establishment of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive of 1991 and the EU Bathing Water Directive rejuvenated their drive. Established initially as a single-issue organization, SAS has grown to become a versatile charity organization tackling a myriad of sustainability challenges. Thanks to their effort, the UK now has a better sewerage management infrastructure.

SAS’s Role in UK’s Waste Management

How do they achieve their cause? By engaging the government on matters marine conservation, educating the communities on the importance of keeping safe our environment, encouraging the industry stakeholders to adopt marine conservation strategies and also offering volunteering opportunities to other people with similar interests as theirs.

Achievements thus far

SAS has played a key role in ensuring at least 96 % of UK’s beaches attains the minimum bathing water standards as mandated by the EU’s Bathing water directive. This is against the 27 % value that was the case before its establishment in 1990.

Another major achievement is their campaign in favor of the plastic bag charge which has since rid of at least 6 billion plastic bags from the environment.

How you can help

If you are a UK resident with environmental interests at heart, you can become part of the team by joining their regular voluntary activities. On the other hand, other like-minded individuals can also make donations and automatically qualify as members. By becoming a member, you get to enjoy 10 % off all the items in their eco surf shop. To learn more about this, please feel free to visit their website.


Creator of the slow living and sustainability blog: She is Awake and NGO founder.


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