Thames21 and HSBC ready to fix broken rivers

Posted: Thursday 9th January 2014

East London’s broken rivers are one step closer to being fixed with the announcement of a 4-year Thames21 project to tackle urban pollution in the Lower Lea Valley. The project is being made possible through the support of the HSBC Water Programme.

‘Fixing Broken Rivers’ follows recent dramatic evidence of the pressure these rivers are under which caused the death of thousands of fish this summer after heavy rain washed vast amounts of road pollutants into the River Lea.

The £490,000 project will include a school-based education programme, reaching 32,400 children; the creation of new and regeneration of existing reed beds and the creation of mini Sustainable Drainage Systems. The schools will also be working closely with up to 4,000 HSBC staff and community volunteers to create and monitor the reed beds and drainage systems.

The ‘Fixing Broken Rivers’ Project Manager, Ben Fenton of Thames21 said: “We know how badly polluted these rivers are and how much local people want to see this pollution addressed. This exciting project is a key step towards stopping the on-going degradation of East London’s rivers and allowing them to be vital green spaces, which support a vast array of wildlife and offer joy and respite to the communities they run through. I am very pleased to be working with HSBC on this important project and I am grateful for their invaluable support enabling us to undertake this crucial work”.

Supporting the project, HSBC’s David Burnett, Chief Operating Officer of Global Banking and Markets said “We have a long history of helping the communities in which we serve. This two year programme will help to address the serious issue of freshwater pollution and support the people who live and work in the area. The programme uses local knowledge and volunteers to construct and plant new reedbeds, which will clean the water and offer an essential habitat.”

The project is the progression of Thames21 pioneering ’Love the Lea’ campaign, which has fought for action on East London’s neglected rivers and championed sustainable solutions to the problems they face. The campaign will work actively with the community, connecting local people with their rivers and engaging them in practical volunteering opportunities to make measurable changes to river health and raise awareness about water pollution causes and how to prevent them.

People interested in taking part in Fixing Broken Rivers should follow Thames21’s updates on

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April 2021

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