Poor David Walliams’ illness contracted from swimming the Thames for Charity threw up (sorry!) the following quite incredible statement from Thames Water:
A spokeswoman for Thames Water said: “The Thames is not a designated bathing area and therefore the Environment Agency does not require us to disinfect the treated waste water before it goes back into the river.’
Well speaking as someone who regularly swims in it anyway, why the hell not make it ‘a designated bathing area’! It would be a fabulous resource that could be accessed from half the Home Counties. And get rid of the many pathogens that Thames Water currently pumps in there……
One of my best memories of travelling through Russia is the way that Russians use every last available inch of water to swim, so that you see them in canals and rivers and lakes everywhere, usually with a cold bottle of vodka and some pickled mushrooms to help them recuperate afterwards.
Pioneers like Kate Rew and the admirable Outdoor Swimming Society, OSS, still have a long way to go in their campaigning to make the same thing possible in Britain.