Environmentally damaging levels of drugs have been found in the river running through the Glastonbury Festival site.
Scientists have warned that the Whitelake River in Somerset contains “dangerous” levels of MDMA and cocaine.
They suspect that public urination is to blame for the increase and have urged festivalgoers to use the restrooms provided.
Researchers are concerned that it will jeopardise efforts to conserve rare European eels in the area.
Before, during, and after the 2019 festival, measurements were taken both upstream and downstream of the site.
The study discovered that MDMA concentrations quadrupled in the week following the festival, implying long-term release from the site.
According to a Glastonbury Festival spokesman, the Environment Agency did not raise any concerns with them following the 2019 event.
“Protecting our local streams and wildlife is critical to us at Glastonbury Festival, and we have a thorough and successful waterways sampling regime in place during each festival, as agreed with the Environment Agency,” he said.
“We are aware that festivalgoers urinating on the land pose the greatest threat to our waterways – and the wildlife for which they provide habitat.”
He added that it does not condone the use of illegal drugs and continues to “successfully strongly discourage” public urination.
“We are eager to see the full details of this new research and would be delighted to collaborate with the researchers,” said the spokesman.
‘Public urination happens’
Bangor University’s Dr. Christian Dunn stated: “The environmental impact is our primary concern. This study discovered that drugs are being released at levels high enough to disrupt the European eel’s lifecycle ” We also need to raise awareness about drug and pharmaceutical waste, which is a hidden, worisomely understudied, but potentially devastating pollutant.”
Dan Aberg, a master’s student in the university’s School of Natural Sciences, added: “Every music festival has illicit drug contamination from public urination.
“Unfortunately, because Glastonbury Festival is so close to a river, any drugs released by festival attendees have little time to degrade in the soil before entering the fragile freshwater ecosystem.”
Further research into environmentally friendly treatment methods to reduce the release and impact of illicit drugs from festivals has been suggested.