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Last Updated: Friday, 27 May, 2005, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK
Husk islands will clean up river
Pollution "hoover": photo from Environment Agency
Plants incorporated in the husk islands can absorb contaminants
A pollution "hoover" is being installed in Swindon's River Ray to improve water quality and attract more wildlife.

The natural system consists of 24 floating islands made up of a material derived from coconut husks.

It is planted with reeds, sedges and water mint which absorb contaminants through their roots and disperse them harmlessly into the atmosphere.

The 15,000 project, which is being placed in the river's Rodbourne Lagoon, was funded by rod licences.

The lagoon has been affected by oil, petrol, diesel and other contaminants.

Bob Preston, fisheries officer for the Environment Agency, said: "The canopy of roots below the island will attract a variety of invertebrates such as pond snails, hog lice, caddis fly and damselfly larvae.

"These are a source of food for the lagoon's fish, principally carp, tench, roach, perch and bream, which also use the root canopy to spawn and to shelter."

Earlier this year, several waterfowl were killed when about 10,000 litres of red diesel leaked into a tributary of the River Ray from another nearby industrial estate.

River diesel pollution toll count
03 Feb 05 |  Wiltshire

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