London life laid bare in rubbish along the Thames

Slideshow ( 20 images )

LONDON (Reuters) - Bones, a moldy hot water bottle, a pair of rusty pliers and a pristine pair of women’s pants are among the eclectic cast-offs Reuters photographer Stefan Wermuth has found along the River Thames.

Wermuth spent two months collecting items along the riverside to give a snapshot of the litter that finds its way into the waterway that runs through the heart of London. For the photo essay, click on:

A gold-plated watch, a letter in Lithuanian in a bottle and a mobile phone were also retrieved from along the shores of the river, which has undergone extensive cleanups since the Natural History Museum declared the Thames biologically dead in 1957.

Today, marine life including seals, porpoises and dolphins have been spotted swimming alongside fish and a hard drive that Wermuth found littering the murky waters.

Pollution remains a problem. In March, Thames Water was handed a record 20 million pound ($26 million) fine for pumping sewage into the river. The water company apologized for its failings and said it was working to improve rivers.

London municipal authorities say 4,000 plastic bottles were removed from the river over a one-month period alone last year, demonstrating the scale of the waste problem.

The impact of pollution on marine life in the Thames has in recent years prompted campaigns to encourage Londoners to make sure their rubbish goes in the bin - rather than the water.

Writing by Marika Kochiashvili; Editing by Alison Williams