Yuk! Sludge slimes itself over East End canals

Invasive duckweed (Lemna minor) on Grand Union/Regent's Canal under Mare St 180813 © david.altheer@gmail.com

EAST END amblers alarmed to see a green sludge of tiny leaves covering the Regent’s/Grand Union Canal as it flows gently through Hackney and past the beautiful Victoria Park at Bow E9 7DE can be reassured.

It is a problem but one that is under constant attention.  The leaves are those of duckweed (Lemna minor), which can quickly grow out of control.

The Canal and River Trust (CRT) told Loving Dalston that physically removing the plant was the only solution. CRT teams did this on the canal every summer and into autumn. Duckweed liked hot weather.

Mute swan on Grand Union/Regent's Canal under Mare St 180813 © david.altheer@gmail.com
Down the Swannee: a mute swan mired near Mare Street

Vince Moran, operations director at the Canal and River Trust, said: “Every year we spend weeks on the canal trying to hold back the tide [of duckweed]. The naturally occurring weed isn’t harmful but it can look unappealing so we try to clear as much as possible.

“It can sometimes feel like a thankless task when in certain hot spots we’re faced with a fresh green blanket every morning.

“Our canals and rivers are great places to visit, and are especially popular in summer, so it’s important to keep them looking their best.”

Hamish Scott 190713

* Dog and child-walkers, beware: your charge could mistake a covering of duckweed for a solid surface.

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