Microplastics: Tara sets sail for six months on Europe’s rivers | AFP

Microbeads and Styrofoam among pieces of wood and plants : scientists on board the research sailboat Tara study samples from the River Thames on the first leg of their mission to understand how microplastics impact life in Europe’s rivers.

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You can now eat in an igloo by the River Thames

London restaurant Coppa Club has launched its festive dining igloos by the Thames for the second year, but this time they’re slightly different.

Last year’s igloos were bought online for £650 each, but they proved quite difficult to operate, so Coppa Club decided to make their own.

The new versions are made from timber beams and perspex and have sliding doors.

They are heated to keep guests warm. There’s also blankets to snuggle in and a button to call a waiter to the igloo.

As soon as the igloos launched, the restaurant was overwhelmed by customers trying to get a spot. They had to hire 10 extra staff to cope with demand.

The igloos are fully booked until mid-January 2018, but three of them are available for walk-ins.

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Britain’s annual swan count takes place on Thames

Britain’s annual ‘swan upping’, a census of the swan population, takes place on the River Thames. The count dates from the twelfth century when the Queen claimed ownership of all mute swans and is overseen by the Queen’s Marker. The census takes place over five days on the third week of July every year.