Heavy rain kills fish. It is a bizarre headline, conjuring up images of raindrops the size of cannonballs pelting to death fish going about their business. While you can discount the cannonballs, when the heavens open, it is certainly hell for the fish in London every week.
The problem is that London's decaying sewers cannot take all the excess rainwater and waste water trying to funnel into treatment plants. Instead of the water finding the easiest course - meaning that untreated sewage would back up and explode through residential road drains and, worse, flood homes via the bath and toilet - untreated sewage flows into the River Thames.
The result is dead fish. Thousands are starved of oxygen; poisoned by chemicals.
The problem has been around since the sewers were remodernised in 1859. But today, the European Union proposes to fine the city, which is a little harsh given that 50 years of clean-ups have made the Thames the cleanest river in Europe, home to 129 species of fish.
There is little that water chiefs can do. No one wants to spend GBP3 billion ($43.8 billion) for a 35km-long storm tunnel stretching east under the Thames. The 15-year project would mean a GBP40 levy on every householder above it, a vote loser, given that the plan would hit seven of Britain's poorest boroughs. Instead, cheaper solutions are being sought. Green groups have one idea, although the headlines would be even more bizarre. Rain does not kill the fish, they say; cars do - and TV garden makeover shows.
So many London councils restrict residential parking permits to one car per household that Londoners now pave over their lawns and gardens to make space for their vehicles. With less soil or tree and plant roots to soak up the rain, minor downpours prompt flash floods.
Some boroughs get 1,000-plus applications a year from homeowners wanting to lower a kerb to turn their front garden into a driveway. In Ealing, west London, more than half the households have done so, even though car ownership there is comparatively low.
Poorer boroughs also concrete over green spaces because it is cheaper to maintain, prompting London Mayor Ken Livingstone to seek powers to stop the practice.
Gardening fashion is also being blamed. There was a time, says the Royal Horticultural Society, when a front garden reflected the status of a respectable, law-abiding person. But for the last decade, TV makeover shows have led the way in laying timber decking instead of grass, or worse, using gravel, paving or tiles. If the lawn must be paved over, green groups say, grow grass on your roof. The only problem is: how do you mow it?