London‘s famous Regent’s Canal has been left carpeted in bright green algae following the European heatwave which caused the mercury to swell to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38C) in the capital.
The once clear canal now looks almost like a swamp as the green mass spreads its way from Ealing all the way through to Kings Cross.
This is not the first time that Regent’s Canal has been draped in suffocating plant, the pictures below are reminiscent of 2017 where similarly hot weather helped blanket the waterway.
Contractors with the Rothen group have been working up and down the length of the canal to clear the algae or duckweed as it is sometimes called.
Charlotte Wood, Canal & River Trust head operations for London, said 783 tonnes of aquatic weed have been collected from London’s canals since April this year.
She said: ‘Anyone visiting the canals in London at the moment will have seen the green duck weed covering the surface.’
‘It’s really frustrating for people who live on the canals or who run business on the canals, and we’ve been working non-stop since April to clear it. It grows so rapidly in the hot weather and is tricky to collect because the individual pieces are so tiny.
‘The teams say it’s bit like painting the Forth Bridge, as no sooner have they finished an area than it’s bloomed again.’
‘The canals in London are great places to be spend some time, especially in the summer. As the charity that looks after the waterways this is the type of work we have to do to keep them in good condition and we’ll continue on with clearing it.’
A solitary swan drifts away from a simple blue canal barge as it sails away from other ships moored behind it, each lonely figure cutting a black line through the strangling algae
Red and green should never be seen: The algae has encircled the Feng Shang Princess, a floating Chinese restaurant that docks in Primrose Hill, outside the restaurant a swan searches for food in the green muck
Still sailing smooth: Undeterred by the now wet weather and strange sailing conditions, these optimistic picnickers have opted for eating a meal barge-side
A small houseboat clutches at its moorings savouring the thin stretch of clear water between itself and the canal walk
Along some portions of the canal, the algae has grown so thick it could easily be mistaken for a field of grass
Two cranes watch over Regent’s canal, heads lifted high away from the murking green streak that cuts across London
Regent’s Canal is no stranger to floating objects, but most are usually powered by a motor or fall from the trees above like as shown here in Little Venice in 2015
Seeing brighter days: Two canal boats glide through the clear canal waters in the springtime of 2019, the only sign of the algae to come is the thin green line that skirts the water’s edge
How does the algae overgrowth affect other wildlife?
- Algae is a broad term for a range of plants which can survive on water while managing to carry out photosynthesis.
- A picturesque sign of the seasons for some, the algae presents a danger to the other fish and plant life that live in the canal.
- By blocking out the sun on the surface they starve the other plants below of sunlight meaning they don’t put oxygen into the water causing any aquatic life to slowly suffocate.
- People and dogs who choose to take a dip in the canal are also at risk as accidentally swallowing the algae can lead to health issues including liver failure.