Glastonbury: drug traces from on-site urination may hurt uncommon eels | Glastonbury competition

Scientists have discovered what they referred to as environmentally damaging ranges of unlawful medication within the river working by way of Glastonbury competition owing to public urination on the location.

Researchers measured ranges of unlawful medication within the river earlier than, throughout and after the final Glastonbury competition, in 2019, evaluating ranges upstream and downstream of the occasion.

After the 2019 competition, drug ranges in River Whitelake had been excessive sufficient to hurt aquatic wildlife, together with a uncommon eel inhabitants, in response to the report.

It discovered that the quantity of MDMA was 104 instances larger downstream than upstream within the weeks after the competition, rising to ranges that might hurt the life cycle of European eels, a protected species. Cocaine focus was 40 instances increased downstream, though the degrees of cocaine weren’t thought-about dangerous to aquatic life.

Earlier analysis has proven that cocaine traces in rivers could cause eels to develop into hyperactive and expertise muscle wastage, impaired gills and hormonal modifications.

The protected European eel (Anguilla anguilla). {Photograph}: imageBROKER/Alamy

Dan Aberg, of Bangor College’s College of Pure Sciences, stated: “Illicit drug contamination from public urination occurs at each music competition. Sadly, Glastonbury competition’s shut proximity to a river leads to any medication launched by competition attendees having little time to degrade within the soil earlier than coming into the delicate freshwater ecosystem.”

A spokesperson for Glastonbury competition stated that defending streams and wildlife was of “paramount significance” to the competition and that they might be completely happy to work with the researchers to grasp their outcomes and suggestions.

“We’ve a radical and profitable waterways sampling regime in place throughout every competition, as agreed with the Atmosphere Company. There have been no considerations raised by the Atmosphere Company following Glastonbury 2019.”

Forward of that 12 months’s competition, Glastonbury’s organisers launched a marketing campaign, Don’t Pee on the Land, to boost consciousness of the environmental injury brought on by public urination on Worthy farm.

Public information poster
‘Please solely pee within the a whole bunch of bogs and urinals on website,’ Glastonbury’s organisers tweeted in 2019 as a part of the competition’s anti-public urination marketing campaign. {Photograph}: Glastonbury Competition/PA

“Peeing on the land at Glastonbury causes air pollution of the water desk, which might have an effect on native wildlife and fish,” they tweeted in June 2019. “The Atmosphere Company have the ability to shut the location if there may be an excessive amount of air pollution. Please solely pee within the a whole bunch of bogs and urinals on website.”

In response to the brand new analysis, Glastonbury’s spokesperson described public urination as “the most important risk to our waterways and the wildlife for which they supply a habitat”.

They stated the Don’t Pee on the Land marketing campaign had had “measurable success” and that they might proceed to discourage the apply. “We additionally don’t condone the usage of unlawful medication at Glastonbury,” they added.

The researchers monitored a close-by river, Redlake, which doesn’t cross the competition website. It skilled “no vital modifications in any illicit drug ranges, additional confirming that drug launch was probably depending on the competition website”.

They urged additional potential mitigation measures corresponding to constructed remedy wetlands, also called reed beds, which use pure features, vegetation, soil and residing organisms to supply extra remedy to wastewater.

Dr Christian Dunn at Bangor College referred to as drug and pharmaceutical waste “a hidden, worryingly understudied but doubtlessly devastating pollutant”.

Glastonbury competition has been unable to happen since 2019 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. Final week it placed on sale lodging packages for camper vans, tipis and pre-erected tents for 2022, suggesting a extra hopeful outlook for subsequent 12 months’s competition.

In Could, the organisers held a stay stream, Stay From Worthy Farm, that includes performances from acts corresponding to Wolf Alice, Michael Kiwanuka and Coldplay.

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