Festival Goers Did So Many Drugs That Their Pee Harmed Local Fish

Local waterways were impacted by the 2019 Glastonbury music festival.

The 2019 Glastonbury music festival attendees must have taken a staggering amount of party drugs. Scientists analyzed the water from nearby River Whitelake and found enough MDMA and cocaine levels to cause harm to wildlife.

According to earlier research published in Environmental Research, scientists discovered that MDMA was found downstream of the festival site 104 times more than it was upstream. According to Bangor University scientists, this is enough to harm the local population European eels. They are a protected and rare species. The researchers also discovered 40 times more cocaine downstream than they did up, but that was not enough to put the eels at risk.


The researchers drug tested Redlake, a nearby river that does not cross the festival site. The researchers didn't find elevated drug levels in that river, which suggests that festival-goers sought relief.

This seems to be a problem at Glastonbury. The festival organizers stated that they have already implemented and seen success with their Dont Pee on the Land campaign.



In June 2019, festival organizers tweeted that peeing on Glastonbury's land can pollute the water table. This could affect local wildlife and fish. If there is excessive pollution, the Environment Agency can close the site. You are not allowed to use the many urinals or toilets available on the site.

Nature must have cried out for too many festivalgoers and they ignored the warnings. The massive influx of drugs into the river is not an every day event, but an occasional occurrence. Christian Dunn, co-author of the study, suggested a parallel to the more widespread problem of pharmaceutical waste. He told The Guardian that this is a worryingly understudied, but potentially deadly pollutant.

READ MORE: Glastonbury: Drug traces from on-site urine could cause rare eels to be endangered [The Guardian]

More about water pollution: Researchers are working to remove anxiety drugs from water



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