Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Paul Holloway)


Scientists find "dangerous" levels of MDMA in river near Glastonbury Festival site


According to reports, scientists have warned there are “dangerous” levels of MDMA and cocaine in the water of Somerset’s Whitelake River that runs through the Glastonbury Festival site.

The environmental survey was conducted before, during, and after the 2019 edition of the festival, with measurements taken both upstream and downstream of the Glastonbury Festival site. The report has raised concerns over the welfare of the river’s are European eel population.

The research found that MDMA levels in the river quadrupled the week after the 2019 festival, the main cause being public urination by festival attendees. In a recent statement, a spokesperson for the annual festival said: “Protecting our local streams and wildlife is of paramount importance 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.”

They then went on to add: “We are aware that the biggest threat to our waterways – and the wildlife for which they provide a habitat – comes from festivalgoers urinating on the land.” The Spokesperson then clarified that they are “keen to see full details of this new research, and would be very happy to work with the researchers.”

According to Bangor University’s Dr Christian Dunn, the main aim of the research is: “The environmental impact” of Glastonbury Festival, adding: “This study identifies that drugs are being released at levels high enough to disrupt the lifecycle of the European eel. We [also] need to raise awareness around drug and pharmaceutical waste – it is a hidden, worryingly-understudied yet potentially devastating pollutant.”

While the full findings from the environmental study are yet to be published, it seems that Glastonbury Festival will be encouraged to pay closer attention to the environmental impact of the thousands of people who attend the Somerset-based event every year.