Pollution of rivers in Manchester is a common problem, says Environment Agency

  • River pollution is not uncommon in Manchester
  • Last month a mysterious white foam was seen floating on River Irwell
  • Pesticide was dumped into River Irwell two years ago

The pollution of rivers in Manchester is an annual occurrence, according to the Mersey Rivers Trust.

Mike Duddy, senior project manager at Mersey Rivers Trust said that though there has been an improvement in the cleanliness of rivers compared to their state in the 20th century, incidents are not uncommon.

 Last month a mysterious white foam was seen floating on the River Irwell between Salford and Manchester.

The Environment Agency analysed the samples and found detergent, which seemed to be the cause. Fortunately, there was no long-term damage to flora or fauna.

However, a similar incident that happened in April 2017 saw pesticide being dumped in River Irwell, which caused lasting damage.

Mr Duddy said: “When the pesticide was put into the river, it killed the invertebrates and the insects, molluscs and the snails. While it did not kill any fish, it killed their food supply.”

The Irwell took a year to recover completely after the incident.

Pollution has a knock-on effect for wildlife, say experts, affecting animals dependent on wildlife in the river for food and birds having to look elsewhere for a food source. Bats and other wildlife, can also be affected.

Perpetrators who cause river pollution could be prosecuted and face penalties.

Mr Duddy said residents can do their bit to make sure pollutants don’t end up in the river.

He said: “The two simple messages we can give are: ‘There should only be rain down the drain’ and the only thing that should go down the sewer are the 3Ps- pee, poop and paper.”

He added that resident should be careful that too much fertilisers are not used in gardening and that they don’t end up in the drain in their gardens. Moreover, rubbish shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet.