Visitors can learn about the surprising eco-systems beneath River Irwell’s grey waters this Sunday with the Mersey River Trust.

A clean-up of the River Irwell is happening this Sunday in time for the reopening of Peel Park which has been undergoing redevelopment since 2015 when the Heritage Lottery Fund approved a bid of £2.5 million to restore the area.

Michael Duddy, senior project manager at Mersey River Trust, is managing the clean up on the day.


The River forms the boundary between Manchester and Salford and empties into the River Mersey near Irlam and has been polluted for nearly 200 years.


Michael said: “The river only started getting cleaner in the late 1990’s and there has been an ongoing clean-up campaign that involves environment agency authorities United Utilities and organisations like our own to clean up all the local waterways of Greater Manchester, Merseyside, and Cheshire.”


Michael is also chairman of Salford’s Friendly Anglers Society who for a long time have been involved in cleaning events along the River and lobbying for environmental improvement.


“We have done so much work in that area we joined together with a couple of other organisations and formed the Mersey Rivers Trust. All of our rivers in this area flow into the Mersey so we are wanting to look after all waterways in the Mersey category.”

“In the past, we have held river cleanups on the River Irwell behind Salford University which have been very well attended and the reason we are having one this coming weekend is for the reopening of Peel Park.”


“In the morning we are going to conduct a river clean up and lift out all the shopping trolleys, bikes, tires etc,” Michael said.


“The waterways are constantly improving but people’s perceptions of them is that they are still dirty because there is so much fly tipping. If we can do something to encourage people to fly tip less into the river then people will hold the river with more value.”


On the day trained Mersey River Trust staff will be in the river with life jackets, waders, and equipment. The public are welcome to help with the clean.

“What we do is we lift the rubbish out of the river and ask the volunteers to move the rubbish down the river bank to the collection point.” He said.


People attending the Peel Park re-opening can go to the Mersey Rivers Trust stand on Sunday afternoon to see microscopes, magnifying glasses, fish tanks, trays full of insects, and water quality testing kits to see how clean the river is and how it has changed over the years.


Michael said: “When most people look at the river they just see a grey expanse of water with ducks on the top they have no idea about what ecosystems live underneath.”


“Our stand is geared towards interested adults and curious children.”


The clean is taking place at 9:30 am on Sunday 22nd April behind the Maxwell Building in Peel Park.


More information can be found here:


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