Festival-goers who ‘drink and take drugs’ have come under fire for dumping litter across Glastonbury Festival – and the debris left behind is akin to a ‘warzone’.
The gargantuan clean-up effort in the wake of Glastonbury Festival 2019 is underway and a scene of devastation has been left behind.
Seemingly endless amounts of litter and all sorts of debris have been left behind by festival-goers after the five-day festival.
Despite festival organisers urging people to pick up their own rubbish and pushing its campaign, ‘Love Worthy Farm, Leave No Trace‘, litter stretches as far as the eye can see.
Somerset Live spoke to stall holders, police and a litter picker for their views on the litter issue.
After talking to them it was clear that they thought people should bin whatever items of litter they had, that certain parts of Worthy Farm was cleaner than others and that more, larger bins were needed.
Stacey Hurst helps run a vintage wear stall called Unearthed up in the Avalon Fields.
She said that a huge part of the litter problem stems from festival goers taking drugs and alcohol and, as a result, they lose their ‘inhibitions’ and don’t care about binning rubbish.
“I think people just kind of let themselves go or loose in terms of taking responsibility,” she said.
“Whether it is drink or drugs, I think that affects your consciousness of the environment you are in.
“If you lose that consciousness then that can spread to others doing the same. If everyone is getting wrecked, although you have bins there but people lose their consciousness of caring.
“I think adding more, larger bins could help too.”
More than 1,000 volunteers are tasked with cleaning up the place, binning tonnes of rubbish and salvaging what they can so that it can be recycled.
It was reported in 2017 that the clean up costs nearly £800,000 and is expected to last six weeks.
Going by previous years, the debris left by the 200,000 festival-goers is shocking to say the least.
Michael Duckett, who runs the Indian Fireballs stall in Avalon Fields, said this was a big problem for the festival.
“In a cleaner area, of the festival, people will pick up litter and bin it but if it is at a busier place that will not happen,” he said.
“I don’t think there are enough bins, to be honest. There could always be more. Sometimes people want to put rubbish in the bins but they are full.
“I do think the rubbish issue is not as bad as it was at The West Holts stage, in comparison to previous years.
“When it is muddy it is even worse. But when it is dry it is not as bad to pick up. If there is a can near us, we pick it up. This field and the Green Fields are just much tidier.
“If you go to Pennard Hill at 3-4pm on Monday it is like a warzone or a refugee camp where people have had to leave. There are a huge number of tents left, rubbish and all sorts of things left behind.”
Ian Storey, who runs the Rockworx workshop up in the Greenfields, said the amount of rubbish left by festival-goers is ‘astonishing’.
“My friend and I were walking down to The Glade and we were taken aback by the amount of rubbish on the ground we saw there,” he said.
“Our kids would never think to do that. They just would not do that. I don’t understand why there are so many people here that do that.
“I think that young people do this more. I think this festival can make a real impact on the people who come here. They are trying to raise awareness on lots of issues – Water Aid, Green Peace etc.
“When people leave on a Monday or Tuesday, the amount of rubbish left behind is astonishing. The trauma wrought on the place is disgusting. The wilful neglect shown is just so disrespectful. It is so sad to see.
“The organisers have done well in making all the cups and plates that food places give out compostable. That should be applauded.
“There needs to be a culture change. I think the Government needs to lead. Parents need to stress the point about binning litter more. You know that someone is going to pick that rubbish up, but they still do it.
“Up in the Green Fields area this is less of an issue. It seems people up here care more than the rest.”
Lee Wyndham is part of the Glastonbury Festival recycling team.
He is picking up litter with an army of workers from 6am-midday until the end of the festival on Monday.
He said: “So far it actually seems to be not as bad as in previous years but there is still a lot of rubbish.
“There is a lot of needless litter being dropped when there are bins nearby. I am not sure if it is people’s culture to do this.
“There needs to be a change in mindset. Hopefully, as a society, we can get more environmentally sound.
“Perhaps fines could be brought in but it is hard to police that.”
Across social media, many have commented that the amount of rubbish dumped across the festival’s many fields is quite shocking.
But Julian Temperley, who runs the Somerset Cider Bus at the festival, said the organisers have done a lot of good work to clamp down on this sort of thing.
“Our cups are all compostable and that is the case across the whole site. They dissolve away if it rains as well,” he said.
“For how many people there are, the rubbish is not that bad. Outside our patch here, our staff went and did a big clean up.
“People are very conscious of litter. There has been monstrous inroads made at the festival on this issue.
“I would say the litter issue is not nearly as bad as it once was. The compostable cups are evidence of that.”
Avon and Somerset police inspector, Mark Nicholson, said the fact that people dump rubbish on the ground, rather than in bins, was ‘disappointing’.
“People could make the effort to put their rubbish in the bin that is 10 yards away,” he said.
“It is disappointing. We support the festival’s ‘Leave no trace’ campaign. We don’t bring in plastic bottles to the site either. We embrace their campaign.”
When Somerset Live contacted Glastonbury Festival, its team stressed that it does all it can to stop people from littering.
On its website it says under the ‘Love the farm, leave no trace’ part: “Everyone that comes to the festival has been asked to sign up to our ‘Love the Farm, Leave no Trace’ pledge when you completed your ticket transaction:
• I will only use the toilets provided and not pee on the land or in waterways.
• I will use the recycling bins correctly and not drop litter on the ground.
• I will take all my belongings home with me again, including my tent and all camping equipment.
• I will bag up my rubbish in the bin bags provided by the campsite stewards and use the recycling pens provided in each campsite.
• I will try to use a reusable water bottle and avoid single-use packaging.”
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