The Cleanest River In The World
From the “Great Stink” to the Cleanest River in the World.
Thames River: from “Great Stink” to becoming one of the Cleanest Rivers in the World Every success story has an interesting struggle to tell. In all these stories, we can always find an absolute persistence despite the adversaries. They say that winners are losers who tried again and again. And that is something we can never disagree with.
In an era of great natural abundance, humanity has gone too far. Blessed with high intelligence, our technology bloomed through the ages. It all started with answering our instincts to survive until it fell into the depths of our addiction to convenience. And now, it may come to ruin the very planet that nurtured us down to the core of our very life.
This millennium is always pictured with pollution and ecological disasters. Despite the widespread plague of environmental destruction, there’s still a silver lining of hope – a hope that someday, little by little, we can still save whatever’s left to Mother Nature. Yes, the destruction moves way faster than conservation. But, we have no right to lose hope, not this time.
Let this story, the inspiring story of Thames River, ignite a small but contagious light to our dying hopes. Let humanity know how a dead river was returned to life, and now hailed as the cleanest river in the world. Behold! The epic journey of how England’s Great Stink became the cleanest river in the world!
The Great Stink Located at the heart of England’s major city, Thames River was originally a proud river teeming with life, and probably the cleanest river in the world indeed. As the Victorian era kicks in, the poor river was forced to eat most of the Londoners’ disposed wastes. Little by little, the river accumulated tons of garbage throughout the decades. But, the most painful blow was the flood of the city’s untreated sewage directed into the river, marking up its toxicity until it was no longer able to support life.
With the exponential increase of wastes and toxins dumped into the river, people started to suffer the consequences. As oxygen level drops that either kills or scares away fishes and other aquatic life, the river reached the point of not being capable of self-cure.
In 1957, Thames River was declared “biologically dead” by the Natural History Museum. It started to release a foul odour that bothered the city’s every nook and cranny. Newspapers circulating the city streets tagged the river as a “filthy, foul-smelling drain”. And that’s how “The Great Stink” was born.
The Cholera Outbreak Despite the river’s awful smell, the people of London was left with no choice. A lot of them kept depending on the river’s water to drink, clean, and bathe. Given the river’s high level of stink and toxicity at that time, Thames’ water is nothing close to being the cleanest river in the world. And thus, a hellish disease stormed the city’s populace in 1832.
A cholera outbreak ravaged the city and it lasted for 22 years, claiming 35,000 lives! Would you believe that at first, the public was on denial that the outbreak was caused by the heavily polluted river? Instead, they blamed it to the “miasma” or the stinky odour in the air. But then, circumstances made things more obvious. In 1878, Prince Alice, a pleasure steamship, sunk by accident because of a river collision. Roughly 600 passengers survived the accident but eventually died after being contaminated by the Great Stink.
Dickens, in one his novels, even described the river as “a dank, stinking sludge, the scene of murders and crime”. In a simpler sense, you can die by simply falling into the river! That’s how dirty the Thames River was.
How did the Thames become the cleanest river in the world?
The Epic Clean-up It was not until the Heat Wave in 1857 when the Thames’ stink reached the parliament’s noses. With the cholera outbreak ravaging the city, and the awful smell clinging into its atmosphere, the lawmakers are forced to take the river’s pollution very seriously.
Several bills and laws to clean the Thames River were created, but it was not until 8 years after when the parliament reached a consensus. Engr. Joseph Bazalgette lead the plan of redirecting the sewers away from the river. A lot of plans have been taken into actions afterwards. But the solution that stood out the most is the help of treatment plants, the real game-changer.
It was a long and winding journey for the Thames to be the cleanest river in the world again. In fact, most of the sewers were destroyed during World War II bombings, spilling untreated wastes back into the river. But with continuous clean-ups and laws to protect the river, together with the strong will of the Londoners, Thames River slowly lost the stink and was brought back to life.
It took decades for the river to recover and reclaim its title as the cleanest river in the world. The Thames surely took its time, but it was all worth it! The Cleanest River in the World Today.
The Thames is definitely the cleanest river in the world! Who would believe that roughly 60 years ago, it was declared dead and reputed “The Great Stink”? Well, the dark story was all left in the past, as the river’s tidal currents are now bursting with life and high-end biodiversity!
Countless species of fishes, seals, dolphins, sea horses and porpoises dwell in its waters. Even whales are tempted to visit and occasionally spotted by the locals. Around 400 species of invertebrates lurk in the river’s muddy floor and winged species like waterfowls, waders, and sea birds fly above its currents to hunt and feed.
Thames’ brimming wildlife is greatly exceptional, given the truth about its astonishing revival. But to think that pollution nowadays seems unstoppable, how do the Londoners keep the title of having the cleanest river in the world? The Maintainance Keeping the Thames River clean is a huge challenge. Every year, around 300 tons of garbage are recovered from the river, most being single-use plastic and the amount keeps growing every year.
Despite the government’s efforts to keep the river’s pollution at its minimal, the booming plastic industry is slowly taking its toll. In 2015, an explorer named Paul Rose started a campaign, asking the community of London to make sure that their rubbish won’t reach the river. With continuous improvements to sewer systems and treatment plants, plus the highly-monitored clean-ups, the cleanest river in the world will be surely kept out of danger.
Yet, one thing is for sure, River Thames needs every single hand to help keep its title and protect its biodiversity. From rags to richness – that’s the most fitting account for the Thames’ story. From being dead to becoming the cleanest river in the world along with its rich biodiversity, this epic transformation story is worth every word. Thames River is not only phenomenal for its one-of-a-kind back story but is also a solid proof that when people come together, nothing is impossible!
Please share this inspiring story so we can spread some positive message and good vibes. There isn’t enough of this going around lately.