Scientists have warned that levels of illegal drugs running through a river near the Glastonbury festival were so high that they could harm wildlife.
Researchers discovered environmentally harmful levels of substances such as MDMA and cocaine in the water after the last festival in 2019 that could further impact wildlife downstream, including rare populations of eels.
Experts are now urging greenfield festival-goers to use the official toilets provided by the organisers, as it is believed the drugs could enter nearby rivers through public urination.
Dan Eberg, a Masters student in the School of Natural Sciences at Bangor University, worked with Dr. Daniel Chaplin from the Center for Environmental Biotechnology (CEB) to measure levels of illicit drugs before, during and after the Glastonbury Festival, when This was the last time it was held. 2019
Samples were taken from the Whitlake River both upstream and downstream of the festival site.
The study found that MDMA concentrations quadrupled one week after the festival, suggesting a long-term release from the site.
They also found that cocaine concentrations increased to levels known to affect the lifecycle of the European eel, a protected species.
Mr Eberg said: “Illegal drug contamination from public urine happens at every concert.
“The level of release is unknown, but festivals are undoubtedly the annual source of illicit drug releases.”
He continued: “Unfortunately, Glastonbury Festival’s proximity to the river results in little time for any drug released by festival attendees to degrade in the soil before entering the delicate freshwater ecosystem. “
The researchers suggested that studies should be conducted into possible treatments through eco-friendly methods, such as constructed treatment wetlands (CTWs), to reduce the impact and release of illicit drugs from festivals.
He said that the festival attendees should be made aware of the harmful effects of public urination to reduce the pollution of natural resources.