Search

Thousands of dead fish in Hackney as the River Lee is “on its last gasp”

23:57 29 July 2013

Dead fish in the river Lea.

Dead fish in the river Lea.

Archant

Thousands of fish gasped their last dying breath last week after torrential rainwater washed a lethal cocktail of pollutants into the River Lee sending oxygen levels crashing to zero. Video courtesy of Robin Grey, www.robingrey.com.

Dead fish in the river Lea.Dead fish in the river Lea.

The shocking scene was witnessed Tuesday morning after the previous night’s heavy thunderstorms, following a two week dry spell.

The Environment Agency confirmed the rain had washed oils, heavy metals, dirt and dust which had built up on the roads into the Lee and its tributaries, leaving the pollutants to dissolve the little oxygen that remained in the water.

Theo Thomas who runs campaign group Thames21’s Love the Lea Campaign said the pollution had pushed the river over the edge.

Hackney residents Tim Taylor, left, Dave Barlow, and Dee O'Connor are angry at the fish deaths.Hackney residents Tim Taylor, left, Dave Barlow, and Dee O'Connor are angry at the fish deaths.

“The Lea is a river at risk, is a very polluted river all year round and on Monday it was teetering on the brink,” he said.

“During hot weather water holds less oxygen anyway. But fish were not dying earlier in the week, it’s the pollution that killed the fish.

Those behind the campaign believe the status quo must change, as an increasing number of vehicles on the roads mean more pollution is being washed into the rivers.

“There’s an attempt to say this is just the hot weather, that sets the conditions up very dangerously and precariously if it hadn’t have rained and washed in the pollution we wouldn’t have seen the fish die,” said Mr Thomas.

Dead fish - photo taken in the Olympic Park by Theo Thomas from Thames 21Dead fish - photo taken in the Olympic Park by Theo Thomas from Thames 21

“This is the water we use to draw out drinking water from, it seems to be a nonsense to put all this pollution into the source of our drinking in the first place.”

Environment Agency fisheries officers worked throughout Tuesday night aerating the Lower River Lee at Three Mills Boatyard, and continued to monitor improving oxygen levels which rose to around 25 per cent.

But Mr Thomas said the action is just a “sticking plaster” and preventative action must be taken.

The Love the Lea campaign is calling for the creation of mini-wetlands, gravel trenches and interceptors which would all remove pollutants from the water before they are able to enter rivers.

They also say more reed beds and aquatic plants would oxygenate the water and give fish a refuge, and that car parks could intercept run-off by turning unused corners into mini wetlands.

Thames 21 Volunteer Damian Rafferty who reported the dead fish to the authorities believes the River Lee is “on its last gasp”.

He said: “The Lee urgently needs an action plan and a lot less blame shifting or it will be utterly barren by the time West Ham move into their new stadium.

“If the gulls weren’t gorging on them, there would be a slick of dead fish across the river from side to side.”

Thames 21 is calling on Transport for London (TfL), which operates the major roads in the capital to ensure pollution is intercepted before it reaches the rivers, as already happens on many roads operated by the Highways Agency.

0 comments

Latest Hackney News Stories

09:00
Complexion Drama children with CBBC's The Dumping Ground star Leanne Dunstan (Picture: Complexions)

Youngsters from a diverse range of backgrounds are being put through their paces at a drama workshop, which is set to climax with a public showcase next month.

Yesterday, 14:24
Daniel Rodriguez

A “predatory paedophile” who “played on his image as a rapper” to groom girls as young as 14 before sleeping with them has been locked up.

Yesterday, 11:32
Zulfi and Greta wearing their Vel-Oh bags

Zulfi Iqbal and his wife Greta Jankunaite decided to design their own bicycle bags to overcome the “frustration” of cycling to work with one bag and having to change over to another.

Thu, 17:52
Constantin and Dean Lawson

A burns victim has thanked the quick-thinking fire crew from Homerton who helped save his life after he suffered 98 per cent burns in a horrific fire.

Thu, 17:01
The Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick.

The futures of six arts projects in Hackney have been given a major boost thanks to Arts Council England grants.

Thu, 16:18
The Prince Edward pub is 150 years old (Picture: Dieter Perry)

Not interested in paying upwards of £4.50 for a pint? Fed up of fancy sausage rolls and scotch eggs? Sam Gelder tells the 150-year story of one of Hackney’s last “proper” pubs.

Thu, 16:12
First time buyers in Hackney will need to earn 12 times the average local salary to get a foot on the ladder

Hackney is the second least affordable place in the UK to buy a first home.

Thu, 10:44
Hackney Town Hall in  Mare Street.

Council land which is currently taken up by derelict buildings, council depots and for the most part empty garages could be turned into around 140 new homes for social renting as part of an “innovative” scheme to help tackle London’s housing crisis.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hackney Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now