Indecent exposure

Fish swimming in party drugs after music festival in Taiwan

Giving a whole new meaning to the idea of a fishing trip, researchers have recently found that levels of illicit drugs, including ecstasy and ketamine, spiked in rivers near a massive music festival in Taiwan.

The findings, published in mid January in the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science and Technology, show an increase in recreational drugs, pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the rivers after the Spring Scream festival, which attracts upwards of 600,000.

So were drugged-up festival-goers so wasted that they were spilling their party favours right into the river? Not exactly. Wastewater treatment plants are not set up to remove these so-called emerging contaminants efficiently, so they get into soil and water. All of which can spell bad news for resident fish populations and aquatic life, as some of these contaminants have been shown to affect the behaviour of fish, such as reducing their appetite, causing raised levels of stress and more. No word on whether they also make them dance weird.

Pills vs Pike
Credit: Students for Sensible Drug Policy (pills); Bob Sexton (pike)