Festival organisers urged to clean drugs out of waste water

Water purification plans struggle with drugs. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Festival organisers should have to clean traces of drugs from waste water before pumping it into the sewers, according to Brabant water board De Bommel. 

Removing traces of ecstasy, cocaine and other drugs from the water is expensive and festivals themselves should have to pick up the bill, water board chief Bas Peeters said the Eindhovens Dagblad. “You can’t explain it to taxpayers,” he told the paper. 

Not all drugs waste can be filtered out, and some ends up in lakes and rivers, which is bad for fish and plants, Peeters said. 

Water purification plants were originally designed to remove organic material from waste water but are increasingly having to deal with chemicals, including traces of medicine and microplastics, as well as drugs. 

Companies can be required to clean the water they use, and hospitals already have agreements on removing medicine waste. Including festivals in the system is the logical next step, Peeters said. 

Tests on waste water are one of the ways drugs experts assess the use of narcotics in the Netherlands. The spread of coronavirus is currently being monitored through waste water sampling as well.

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