Dead Seal Raises Concern Over Thames Water Quality

Seal sightings have been reduced over the last few months

Dead seal on Chiswick foreshore. Picture: Val Bott


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The corpse of a dead seal was seen on the Thames foreshore just upstream of Chiswick Staithe this Saturday morning (24 November).The seal had been dead for a few days.

Regular walkers and other river users such as rowers have reported a reduction in the number of sightings of seals over the last few months. Earlier in the year seals had been spotted on a regular basis.

Earlier this month rowers received notification of the discharge of untreated sewage into the River Thames, due to lack of capacity in the existing sewer network from both Hammersmith Pumping Station and Mogden following heavy rain.

Dubbed “biologically dead” by the Natural History Museum in 1957, the Thames Estuary’s growing population of seals had been suggesting a remarkable comeback for the biodiversity of the area.

This summer, the lack of rainfall meant less sewage was released into the Thames and it was though possible that this encouraged seals such as this one to look for fish further into the tidal areas of the river.

The Thames Tideway Tunnel will divert sewage and rainwater away from tidal areas, and is expected to open in 2024. It is hoped this will go further to improve ecological conditions.


November 25, 2018

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