The boat is available for companies to hire for volunteer days or to sponsor through advertising on the boat’s awnings.

Amongst the thousands of litres of litter collected from the river in recent years 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.

Since 2014 employees from Cargill’s starches and sweeteners facility in Trafford Park have commissioned a total of 18 trips aboard the Irwell Pride.

The purpose-built litter boat was purchased with funding from the Healthy Waterways Trust and Salford City Council and is the latest step in the decades-long clean-up of the River Irwell, once one of the dirtiest and most polluted rivers in the country.

Phil Gladman, change and communications manager at Cargill, said: “Cargill is one of the biggest privately owned companies in the world, operating in nearly 70 countries. One of Cargill’s key objectives is to support the communities in which it operates through its charitable initiative, Cargill Cares.

“The Cargill Cares team at the Cargill Manchester plant seeks to provide sponsorship and practical help to local charities that fit within the core areas of food security and nutrition, education and the environment.

“In pursuit of this the team has been happy to sponsor the work of the Irwell Pride crew, and in the last year or so many Cargill employees have been pleased to volunteer as temporary crew members to help in the removal of litter from Manchester’s waterways.”


  • Field team member posing with guitar removed from the Manchester Ship Canal
  • Staff from APEM removing rubbish from Salford Quays onboard 'Irwell Pride'.
  • APEM field team scientist going through litter at Salford Quays

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.”

The hugely successful clean-up of the Irwell 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.

If you have any queries, please contact Joe Allaby, senior field team scientist.
Alternatively you can email us here. Or call 0161 442 8938.