London's Canals Battle Weed Infestation

By TimW Last edited 89 months ago
London's Canals Battle Weed Infestation

An impressive if unsightly covering of green muck is making life on London's waterways less picturesque than usual, as can be seen in these images of Regent's Canal in Islington. The nuisance, duckweed, is a common summer problem on the canals. It traps litter on the surface of the water and blocks sunlight, making it harder for other species to survive. "We have teams out every day on boats clearing it, but as the weed is so small it’s very difficult to gather," says a British Waterways spokeswoman. "It grows so quickly in summer that it’s a constant battle."

While it is harmless to people and pets, "the main danger is when animals (or humans) mistake it for grass and try to walk on it," as an unfortunate pooch found yesterday when it received a soaking in the City Road Basin.

For boat owners, duckweed can cause engine blockages, but the owner of the Epiphany narrowboat (pictured), happily negotiating a tight tunnel this afternoon, says that while "it looks ugly, it doesn't really do much damage".

In other canal news, the Angel Canal Festival is coming up on 4 September. The one day event at the City Road lock includes a children's fun fair, boat trips and performance art. Admission is free – click here for more. In preparation for the event, British Waterways are organising volunteer cleanup sessions this Saturday (20 August) at 10am–12.30pm and 1.30–4.30pm. Volunteers should meet British Waterways’ volunteer team leader, Rebecca Williams at 10am or 1.30pm outside Angel Tube Station.

Last Updated 16 August 2011