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

Theo Llewellyn on The Voice, photo from Wall to Wall, Guy Levy

A third contestant from Hackney has made it through the blind auditions of the fifth series of BBC talent show The Voice and will be mentored by the Only Love Can Hurt Like This singer, Paloma Faith.

Sophie Dickens' sculpture Large Lovers

Sculptor Sophie Dickens has set out to prove love is no bed of roses with a collection of 18 bronze statues – just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Fri, 17:21
Firefighters protesting before Kingsland Road fire station was axed

Staff shortages meant Shoreditch fire station was forced to close on one of its busiest nights of the week, brigade bosses have admitted.

Fri, 16:37
Theo Llewellyn on The Voice, photo from Wall to Wall, Guy Levy

A third contestant from Hackney has made it through to the blind auditions of the fifth series of BBC talent show The Voice.

Fri, 14:42
Lorna Downing in the Vagina Monologues (Picture:  Peter Jones)

A play bringing taboo female topics like menstruation and vaginal discharge out into the open, will raise money for East London women’s charity Nia, which works to end violence against women.

Fri, 09:44
Flowers at the scene of the crash where Lewis Johnson, 18, died on Tuesday (Picture: Ken Mears)

Tributes have continued to pour in for 18-year-old Lewis “lighty Lew” Johnson, who died on Tuesday after his motor scooter collided with a van following a police chase.

Fri, 08:38
Jarvis Cocker performing live at Koko in Camden Town, Photo PA Zak Hussein

Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker will be spinning tunes along with Swing Out Sister’s Corinne Drewery, at a star-studded fundraiser to raise money to ensure refugees can access medical help.

Thu, 17:29
Police at a Reclaim the Streets and Liverpool Dockers March for Social Justice in 1997, the type of protest Jenner may have attended. Picture: David Hoffman/hoffmanphotos.com

‘Alison’ is one of seven women who received an apology from the Met after unknowingly becoming involved in long-term relationships with undercover officers.

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Champagne experience

This Valentine’s Day, the Coca-Cola London Eye is the perfect destination for lovebirds, offering a range of romantic experiences from Friday 12th February - Sunday 14th February 2016.

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hackney Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe