There has been much talk about the new Thames Tunnel and how it will improve the water quality of the River Thames. But it seems that the river has started to fight back since the nineteen fifties when it was declared “biologically dead”.

London’s river was also its main drain in the 1800s when the industrial revolution spewed toxic contaminants into the river on a daily basis. And in the 1950s and 60s you wouldn’t ever have considered the river winning any prizes. At times of heavy rainfall, sewers still overflow into the river to prevent localised flooding, but even so it has just won a prestigious award for environmental conservation.

The International Thiess River Prize comes with prize money of £218,000 and the Thames beat off competition from Australia and Austria to claim the top spot.

Salmon are now found in the river (the first past London bridge since 1833) and in fact, it now has over 125 species of fish. It’s so clean that some people have even started to swim in the river again. Just this summer, The Great River Swim saw 70 people swim around Chiswick Island, file miles from Hyde Park.

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