Britain's mighty River Thames, nowadays strikingly free of water pollution, is about to become the target of another cleanup campaign: a plan to liberate its banks and midstream islands from the effects of industrial abuse.
A L1 million ($2.2 million) scheme is being launched to return the strand of the English capital's waterway to a condition of which Londoners can be proud.
Over the past two decades the Thames waters have been purified to a point where a wide variety of fish and other marine creatures can flourish. Well over 100 species are found in the Thames, including salmon that, having swum upstream , have begun to spawn.
But both sides of the meandering river remain scarred by the industrial activity of over two centuries. Old factory buildings disfigure the banks in some places. Long stretches are weakened be erosion and rendered unsightly by garbage. Where trees once grew, often only stamps can be seen.
Now the Thames Heritage Trust, a charitable body, is determined to clean up the river banks. The group plans to begin in the immediate London metropolitan area. It will tackle the length of the 215-mile river if and when more funds flow into its coffers.
Already $:100,000 ($200,000) has been raised, and industrial concerns operating close to the Thames are expected to contribute heavily. The Thames Heritage Trust believes that what has been achieved in the water ought to be possible on the dry land beside it.