In times gone by, people would swim almost anywhere giving little consideration to the quality of the waters they swam in. This was true at the seaside, in rivers and lakes and even at swimming pools. Ignorance was bliss, well, that is until you took ill and cursed the day you went in swimming.
Our modern-day awareness of environmental issues has put many off swimming in city rivers. Even when waters are clean enough to swim suspicions about the dangers of what may lurk in the watery depths keep most people from taking the plunge.
So what can be done to encourage swimmers back into polluted rivers, and help them reclaim the joys of river swimming?
You can of course attempt to clean up the pollutants and make the water safe for swimmers. This really can be done, the Copenhagen Harbour Baths are a living example.
But what about city’s like London and New York?
If cleaning up the whole river is not possible perhaps cleaning just a bit of it could work.
The Plus Pools project is working to do just that. The walls of the proposed pool will filter the river water making it safe for swimmers inside the floating baths.
Is this really possible? To prove that it is the first stage of the project has been implemented, a floating lab instituted and the results of the filtration system can be monitored online.
To find out more please see the video below!
What about Father Thames?
There are two positive developments here, the first being a new super sewer which could improve river water quality to safe swimming standards. The second is an interim fix, to build a pool in the river that uses fresh un-chlorinated or tap water which can then be naturally cleaned and refreshed. Read more about the Thames Baths Project here.
These projects show a change in direction when it comes to the use of these natural urban spaces. A move back to swimming in the natural environment.
Visit the London exhibition Urban Plunge to find out more.
Discover just how popular swimming was in Britain just a century ago, and why we here in Britain have developed our unique culture through our swimming experience.