London 2012: Campaign starts to keep east London’s waterways free

An operation to keep Newham’s waterways rubbish and weed free both during and after the Olympics was launched last week.

Two new weed boats, funded by the Environment Agency at a cost of �300,000, will service rivers and canals for the duration of the Games.

In the long-term, operators British Waterways will work with volunteers to protect the water and maintain the boats.

More than �60 million has been invested in cleaning up the water in time for the Games.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has designed the park landscape to pull back the river and canal banks and make the waterways a prominent part of the park.

Murad Qureshi, chairman of the London Waterways Commission said: “The Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 campaign has been a success because organisers and volunteers have worked tirelessly on a host of events and in spreading their message.

“The launch of these two new weed boats will go a long way towards enhancing the aims of this campaign.”

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As part of the campaign, people are being asked to send in their suggestions for a 10 character name for the weed boat.

The winner will then be invited to christen the boat at the first volunteer event after the Games, where the name plaque will be unveiled.

Mark Blackwell, enterprise manager at British Waterways, said: “The rivers and canals in East London have been completely transformed by the staging of the Olympics and they will provide a valuable green legacy for local communities and visitors.

“These two weed boats will play a key role in ensuring the waterways are an attractive back-drop to the Olympic Park and we are delighted that they will provide a cornerstone for volunteer clean-ups in the future.”

At least 4,000 Londoners are being sought for the campaign by July 2012.

Julia Simpson, Environment Agency area manager, added: “The boats will really benefit the river and the local area, not only for the Olympics but for many years after.”

For more information on the Big Waterways Clean Up and to sign up, visit and email your suggestions to