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Did you know there’s a light show keeping tabs on the health of the Thames?

Alexandra Sims

It’s tricky for a city like London to clean up its act, but little ideas can lead to big changes. Here's how data from the Thames is being turned into a jazzy light show 

The Thames has gone from being  ‘biologically dead’ to containing 125 species of fish.
That’s good, right?

Sort of, but that’s not the whole story. According to Debbie Leach from charity Thames21, the city’s main artery still has serious issues, with pollution overflows and road run-off seeping in. Last year 2,500 discarded bottles were counted on one stretch of foreshore in just a day. 

What’s being done about it?

Thames Pulse’, designed by Jason Bruges and MEC, uses data from river probes and turns it into light displays on Sea Containers House. 

Sounds fancy! How does it work?

The lights flash and change colour depending on the oxygen, pH and nutrient levels: turgid green when quality is declining then pulsating pink and blue when it’s improving. 

How can I watch?

Head to Blackfriars Bridge at night to see the display at its best and keep tabs on how our liquid landmark is doing. Want to get more involved? Take part in Thames21’s Big Bottle Count on September 2.

Illustrations: Dan Woodger

Find out more about Thames21 here

Have you heard about the hi-tech pen turning air pollution into art?

Or how about the washing powder helping combat air pollution in London?

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