Former landfill transformed into a nature reserve opens in the UK

thameside nature park photo
© Frank Lumsden

For longer than most people can remember, Mucking Marshes Landfill in England festered as an ugly reminder of just how messy we humans can be. Over the course of fifty years, the pile of trash there along the mouth of the River Thames grew and grew, fed by the refuse and waste of six London boroughs.

But now, after years of effort on the part of conservationists, the scene today couldn't be more different.

Last week, famed naturalist Sir David Attenborough and members of the Essex Wildlife Trust officially opened the Thurrock Thameside Nature Park -- a 120 acre nature reserve of grassland, woods, and marshes built atop the former landfill. The reserve will be expanded to cover and additional 725 acres over the coming years.

In an interview with BBC, Trust director John Hall described how the area has been and will continue to be transformed from heaps of rubbish to a haven for local wildlife.

"It's a bit of a blank canvass, because the soils are being brought in to cover over the landfill that's been going in there for many years and many habitats will be created," says Hall.

"We're looking at woodlands being created, there'll be a lot of flower-rich grassland supporting things like hares and lots of different types of insects. There's already various warblers on the lakes and birds using the coastal strip, but it's going to be a new lease of life for this part of Thurrock."

During his speech to commemorate the opening of the park and adjacent visitor's center, Attenborough hailed the project -- citing it as an example of our ability to clean up the messes of the past to ensure a cleaner, greener future.

"What you have done a monument to what can be done to restore nature."


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