If you’re rolling on ecstasy at a musical festival, you may be affecting more than just your own brain cells.
A group of environmental researchers from Taiwan analyzed samples of both river water and wastewater in the Hengchun area of Taiwan, taken around the time of a popular music festival area.
In a recently published paper, the team reports the levels of contaminants in the water spiked as the festival went on, showing high levels of caffeine, ketamine and MDMA, among other substances.
And it makes sense, since nearly 600,000 young people attended the beachfront Spring Scream festival in April of 2011, the year the samples were taken.
As CityLab notes, this study was partially funded by the nation’s Ministry of Education, meaning there could be definite moral undertones to the researchers’ analysis of the data.
The team writes,
At the same time, it was reported that the annual quantity of drugs seized in Taiwan reached 3500 kg in 2011 and that ketamine (2594 kg) accounted for 74% of the total drugs seized…
Together with our findings, they implied that the problems of drug abuse and addiction during the youth festival, and consequent environmental issue are of concern.
It’s not yet clear how the festival will affect the area’s fresh water in the long run.