Not even an appearance from Sir David Attenborough was enough to persuade Glastonbury-goers from picking up after themselves as thousands of plastic bottles were left littering the festival site.
This year, in keeping with ever-increasing concerns about climate change and the environmental impacts of single-use plastic, Glastonbury organisers decided to ban the sale of all plastic bottles.
An announcement on the festival’s website added there would be no plastic bottles supplied backstage or in dressing room areas, nor to catering or production staff – even the high-profile celebrities performing at the event would be prevented from getting their hands on the environmentally unfriendly items.
Instead, water was available in cans or at refill sites.
— Christofee (@Christofee3) June 30, 2019
Speaking about the impact of the decision with the Glastonbury Free Press, co-organiser Emily Eavis said she’d noticed a distinct lack of plastic bottles in the bins and on the ground around the site over the weekend.
I think people are really starting to understand how important it is to treat the land with respect, and to stop living a disposable lifestyle.
However, despite the organisers’ best efforts, photos show Worthy Farm was still ridden with plastic bottles by the end of the festival, which came to an end last night (June 30).
The disheartening scenes come even after Sir David appeared on the Pyramid Stage and thanked Glastonbury for choosing to go plastic-free.
He told the crowd:
There was one sequence in Blue Planet II which everyone seems to remember.
It had an extraordinary effect and now this great festival has gone plastic-free.
That is more than a million bottles of water have not been drunk by you in plastic. Thank you.
'Now this great festival has gone plastic free.' David Attenborough speaks to a huge crowd at the Pyramid Stage. RS pic.twitter.com/XCWUCVX80v
— Glastonbury Live (@GlastoLive) June 30, 2019
More than one million plastic drinks bottles were sold at the festival in 2017, in comparison to zero sold in 2019.
Although the drop in single-use plastic sales is an incredible achievement, it’s clear many attendees still used plastic bottles and failed to properly discard them; a move which is not only disrespectful to the planet but to the organisers of the festival who worked hard to be more environmentally friendly.
Organisers had also urged those attending the festival to take their tents home with them instead of dumping them at the end of the event. As UNILAD has previously reported, abandoned items aren’t always recycled and are instead harmful to the environment.
While every effort made to reduce our environmental impact is a step in the right direction, there is always more to be done.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.