Drug waste from popular festival weekends may be contaminating drinking water and the environment
Massive music festivals that draw thousands of attendees to their grounds have had an undeniable cultural and financial effect on the surrounding areas they land in, but it has been recently discovered that festivals may be introducing additional, and unforeseen, environmental effects. A new study from the Environmental Science & Technology journal analyzing “emerging contaminants” (EC) determined that foreign toxins like waste from hygiene products and drug use may be eluding water filtration, allowing contaminants to reenter drinking water cycles and affect fish and other aquatic life. Specifically, the study notes that traces of dangerous drugs like ecstasy and ketamine that could be particularly harmful for the surrounding environment’s rivers, soil, and inhabitants.
The study examined Hengchun, a popular Taiwan vacation destination and researchers weren’t surprised to find that there were higher levels of ECs found during popular travel times like seasons with better weather. But what did shock scientists of the study were the results calculated from daily samples during Taiwan’s springtime music festival Spring Scream. During this party weekend, researchers reported huge spikes in levels of ecstasy, ketamine, and caffeine found as ECs in surrounding environments of the festival.
The study and its findings are merely the first layer of concerns that researchers are beginning to discover. The effects of harmful drugs in the environment, aquatic life, and in fish and water that are potentially consumed by people later on are still unknown, thus it is difficult to determine how significant this problem may really be. Thankfully, simply touching or swimming in the water has no adverse effect on humans, scientists are still trying to determine how different concentrations of exposure will affect local populations in the long term.
Via: Washington Post