London rivers are often beautiful spaces for nature, but they face a number of challenges. The most urgent are flooding, water pollution, and plastic litter.
Alongside our famous clean-ups, Thames21 works to enhance and restore rivers in a number of ways which tackle these problems. Depending on the site, we work with partners to create new reedbeds; remove barriers and concrete channels; and create beautiful new wetland areas.
New wetlands, otherwise known as ‘Rainscapes’, create space for increased water flow, thereby reducing flooding. Reedbeds and other enviromental enhancements provide new habitats for wildlife, and help trap pollutants before they flow downstream. Removing barriers brings rivers back into the heart of communities, improving the wellbeing levels of people who visit them. And a more visible, well-loved river is less likely to be blighted by huge amounts of litter.
Those living near river restoration projects across London report a better community spirit as the amount of shared space, and opportunities for volunteering and community action, have increased.
Our Thames River Watch citizen science project trains Londoners to capture vital information on Thames water quality and the types of litter that is collecting on the foreshore.