Qualitative research was fundamental to the development of this project. I used this method to understand social-political, biological and hydraulic aspects of the problem of micro-plastics in fresh water systems. There is a lack of understanding of the abundance, fate, behaviour and effect of microplastics on and in freshwater systems (Anderson et al., 2016; Dris et al., 2018; Liedermann et al., 2018; Tibbetts et al., 2018). This is in part due to the complexity of interactions within environmental systems, the limited number of studies relative to this and the lack of standardization which in turn leads to a lack of ability to compare results and create a cohesive understanding. River health is improved through a relationship between monitoring and research resulting in an increase in both public and political awareness of the issue that can drive change. This makes the lack of understanding not just a problem in and of itself but when put into context of how river health is improved it becomes clear that it is a critical problem.