Tackling the trash in the Thames

In the week that saw the launch of a 600m long floating barrier to clean up the Pacific Garbage Patch, we’ve been thinking about all the litter in London’s waterways. We’ve featured below three projects to tackle the problem that anyone can get involved in.Trash is, of course, something we talk about on A Rubbish Trip. We’re next leading(…)

London’s underground heat

It’s been a hot few weeks here in London. Above-ground, things have been made worse by the heat island effect: all the reflective hard surfaces and heat from cars and air conditioners, which mean that temperatures in the city centre can be up to 10C warmer than in the countryside. Things have been pretty steamy underground,(…)

Time to talk about the Thames Tideway tunnel

The Thames Tideway tunnel – also known as the ‘super sewer’ – will be the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the UK water industry. I first heard about it in 2003. I had recently joined the legal team at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and was about to take on(…)

London’s answer to plastic waste

There was a time when Londoners weren’t that fussed by water. Gin and beer were far more popular, and – dissipation and alcohol poisoning aside – safer to drink. It took the Victorian temperance movement coupled with terrible cholera epidemics for people to realise that free, potable water might be a good thing. So, in(…)

Crossrail: adventures in waste

There’s so much of wonder about Crossrail, the new railway under London that will link Reading and Heathrow with Shenfield and Abbey Wood when it opens in 2019. First off, there’s the staggeringly ambitious engineering work to construct 42km of tunnels through the centre of a city already riddled with holes from the tube network.The real joy for(…)

Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed

So wrote the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier in 1774, summing up his discovery that although matter can change its state in a chemical reaction, the total mass of matter remains the same.‘Everything is transformed’ could also serve as the motto for the Circular Economy: the idea that we can produce stuff without waste or pollution(…)

Hey Sewer Abusers!

This ‘plop video’ speaks for itself. Sewerman Style.

Castaway city

By the Thames at East Tilbury. Sixty years of London lies here, dumped since the 1930s and now buried beneath the marshes. Dislodged glass and china fragments collect on the beach while container ship pass silently by.

On the edge

North Greenwich Peninsular in the gloaming yesterday. There to research my next walk: a Rubbish Trip. It’s a soulful place. Derelict, still, away from things. Now on the verge on being redeveloped as a luxury cruise terminal, its transformation has been helped along by a recent spate of vandalism. Bored kids with sticks. An efficient(…)