Drug levels that are harmful to the environment have been discovered in the river that runs through the Glastonbury Festival grounds.
Scientists have cautioned that the Whitelake River in Somerset contains “dangerous” quantities of MDMA and cocaine. They believe the spike is due to public urination and have advised festival guests to use the restrooms offered. Researchers are concerned that it will jeopardise efforts to conserve rare European eels in the area.
Before, during, and after the festival in 2019, measurements were obtained both upstream and downstream of the location. MDMA concentrations increased a week after the festival, indicating long-term release from the site, according to the study.
The Environment Agency had not expressed any issues with the Glastonbury Festival following the 2019 event, according to a representative for the festival. “At Glastonbury Festival, we place a high priority on protecting our local streams and wildlife, and we have a thorough and successful waterway sampling process in place during each festival, as approved by the Environment Agency,” he said. He went on to say that the organisation does not condone the use of illegal narcotics and that it continues to “effectively severely oppose” public urinating.
Bangor University’s Dr. Christian Dunn said: “Our biggest concern is the impact on the environment. Drugs are being discharged at amounts high enough to disturb the lifecycle of the European eel, according to this study.
“We also need to raise awareness about drug and pharmaceutical waste, which is a hidden, understudied, and potentially deadly pollution.”
Aberg, a master’s student in the university’s School of Natural Sciences, added: “Every music event has illicit drug contamination from public urination.
Further research into ecologically friendly treatment options to reduce the release and impact of illicit narcotics from festivals has been suggested.