Public Urination at Glastonbury Linked to Potentially Dangerous Levels of MDMA in Nearby River

High concentrations of drugs have been found in the water downstream from the English festival
Public Urination at Glastonbury Linked to Potentially Dangerous Levels of MDMA in Nearby River
Photo: Czampal
"Pissing in a River" is a good Patti Smith song, but maybe a bad idea if you're high out of your mind. 

In a big whoopsie that could have potentially devastating ecological effects, it turns out that Glastonbury festival-goers may be responsible for dangerous levels of MDMA and cocaine in the nearby Whitelake River, caused by an overabundance of public urination during the festival. 

According to a BBC report, a new study looked at Glastonbury 2019 — the 2020 and 2021 editions were both cancelled due to COVID-19 — and measured drug levels upstream and downstream of the festival site prior to, during, and after the festival. A week after the event, MDMA concentrations had quadrupled downstream. 

"Our main concern is the environmental impact," explained Dr. Christian Dunn of Bangor University. "This study identifies that drugs are being released at levels high enough to disrupt the lifecycle of the European eel."

Dan Aberg, a postgraduate student at Bangor University's School of Natural Sciences, also commented on the case, saying, "Illicit drug contamination from public urination happens at every music festival. Unfortunately, Glastonbury Festival's close proximity to a river results in any drugs released by festival attendees having little time to degrade in the soil before entering the fragile freshwater ecosystem."

Festivals are fun (if famously environmentally unsound) and drugs can be fun (if done safely), but preventable environmental damage is absolutely no fun. This is a reminder to be aware of where you're putting your fluids next time you're rolling out in Mother Nature.