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Green islands rewild polluted urban waterways

Published 3:26 AM ET, Wed September 8, 2021
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Scottish company Biomatrix Water has developed a way to revitalize urban waterways, using a modular system of floating platforms -- such as this one, being moved into position in Berlin. Courtesy Biomatrix
Biomatrix Water installs floating platforms into city canals and rivers, providing vital green space on the water, which improves water quality and offers a healthy habitat for aquatic fauna. Some of these platforms are equipped with solar-powered water treatment systems, such as this one in Chennai, India. Courtesy Biomatrix
The platforms have brought native plants and animals back to waterways that have long been devoid of wildlife. Courtesy Biomatrix
The company has installed its floating ecosystems in cities around the world, from Boston to Manila, Berlin to London. Residents local to these city sites say that the platforms, like this one in Killingworth Lake in the UK, have completely transformed their area. Courtesy Biomatrix
The platforms were initially designed to act as in-situ water treatment to recover highly contaminated waterways, but their true value is their ability as tranquil greenspace to improve the mental health of the people who live by the waterways, says Lisa Shaw, co-director of Biomatrix Water. Courtesy Biomatrix
One of the main driving forces for Shaw and co-founder Galen Fulford is the desire to create healthy green spaces for the communities that live in the inner city. Here in Manchester, children now go pond dipping and actually catch things in their nets. Courtesy Biomatrix
Through its "Living Water Cities" campaign, Biomatrix Water hopes to encourage the development of healthy natural water environments in cities across the world. Pictured: Kayakers enjoy paddling past Biomatrix Floating Ecosystems on the Chicago River. Courtesy Biomatrix
Shaw says that the introduction of Biomatrix Water's floating platforms, like these ones in Kortrijk, Belgium, encourages local communities to become caretakers for their waterways, creating a lasting positive relationship between the cities and their rivers. Courtesy Biomatrix