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Attendees at Glastonbury Festival, the U.K.'s largest music festival, have caused a significant increase in drug pollution in the river because of their toxic urination habits.

Researchers and scientists are asking for patrons to change their habits of public urination at the festival. According to Newsweek, scientists found damaging traces of drugs in the Glastonbury river.

The Whitelake and Redlake rivers flow by the Glastonbury Festival site. Back in 2019, scientists measured the water quality before, during, and after the festival both upstream and downstream of the festival location.

They specifically tested for popular drugs like MDMA, cocaine, and benzoylecgonine. Researchers reportedly didn't find any drastic changes but did find "notable traces" of all three drugs in the Whitelake site. They also found that the drug levels were 104 times higher downstream of the festival than they were upstream. Additionally, the levels of MDMA were high enough to be harmful to aquatic life and wildlife.

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Since the Glastonbury Festival is so close to the river, the drugs don't have time to degrade in the soil before they flow out to the water.

"Education is essential for environmental issues, just as people have been made aware of the problems of plastic pollution, and Glastonbury have made great efforts to become plastic-free; we also need to raise awareness around drug and pharmaceutical waste—they are hidden yet potentially devastating pollutants," said Christian Dunn, a zoology lecturer at Bangor.

Festival organizers along with the Environmental Agency are encouraging festival goers to use the toilets provided by the festival to reduce the pollution and prevent long-term harm to the local wildlife.


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