Healthy Rivers Trust Litter boat leads Irwell spring clean
A specially designed litter boat and staff from a local business led a spring clean on Manchester's River Irwell. The purpose built litter boat was purchased with funding from the Healthy Rivers Trust and Salford City Council. Funding from the Environment Agency allows it to operate about once a week along the Irwell between Salford Quays and Manchester Cathedral.
Staff from the Cargill factory in Trafford Park spent a day aboard the Irwell Litter Vessel collecting rubbish from the river where it passes through Manchester city centre.
Amongst the 36,000 litres of litter collected by the boat in the last year has been an old guitar, hundreds of floating footballs and a message in a bottle. The most common problems are plastic bottles, food wrappers and natural debris, which are blown or washed into the river from all over the city and collect in litter hotspots.
The litter boat is the latest step in the decades long clean-up of the River Irwell, once one of the dirtiest and most polluted in the country. The hugely successful clean-up has seen businesses and residents flock back to the river, with an estimated 48,000 workers and 10,000 residents now living and working in close proximity to it. Around 100,000 pedestrians cross the river on a daily basis.
In addition to the river clean up, twenty Cargill employees cleaned up the area around the Trafford Park site, collecting about 40 bags of litter – not to mention an old car bumper.
Professor Peter Batey, chair of the Healthy Rivers Trust, said: “One of the main objectives of the Healthy Rivers Trust is to tackle litter. The Irwell Pride litter boat is a fantastic way to remove debris and maintain clean and healthy waterways where communities, businesses and ecosystems can all flourish.”
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