Enormous oil spillage spreads miles across London along River Lea

Environmental officers are struggling to contain an enormous oil spillage that has spread miles across London along the River Lea.

Unsettling images have emerged of swans covered in the thick black grease as boaters in the capital took to social media to vent their outrage.

The Environment Agency is investigating the oil slick, which according to witnesses started more than one week ago and is affecting the river between Enfield and Newham.

It is believed to have entered the water in the Tottenham area, but it was not immediately clear how the spillage took place. 

Witness Sarah Nicholas said a number of swans had to be rescued by charity the Swan Sanctuary after becoming completely coated in oil. 

She told the Standard: “Many swans covered in oil have been rescued but there are huge numbers of birds and other wildlife that are suffering.

“Speaking to the [Environment Agency] EA, the incident has been caused by an industrial scale oil spill/dump into a surface drain – they are trying to trace back the source while struggling to contain the spill.”

Ms Nicholas added: “The boating community is desperate to help contain and clean up the spill, but we have received little to no official communication or advice about what we can/should be doing.”

Sophie Scott told the Hackney Gazette that she feared for her health as the thick, black liquid continued to surround her houseboat following the huge spillage.

She said: “You can see it on all the birds, and goodness knows what’s happening to the wildlife under it, or to our boats. We’re breathing it in. It’s in our environment. We’re breathing it in on a daily basis.”

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An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Environment Agency officers have been dealing with the pollution incident in the River Lea since it was first reported last week.

“Our officers work 24/7 to protect people and wildlife from pollution incidents and have been working closely with the Canal & River Trust and a specialist contractor to identify the source of the pollution and clear the spillage.

“The clear up process will continue over the next few days and we will continue to monitor the river for any lasting environmental damage.

“We are thankful to the members of the public for reporting the issue and will encourage everyone to report pollution incidents to our hotline on 0800 80 70 60.”

Source : https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/enormous-oil-spillage-spreads-miles-across-london-along-river-lea-a3770596.html