Fish in Rivers Near Big Music Festivals Get Exposed to Illicit Drugs

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

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.

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

Bob Sexton

Bob Sexton

Growing up in Gander, Newfoundland, and Peterborough, Ontario, Outdoor Canada's managing editor Bob Sexton jumped at every chance to wet a line and head afield. After spending half of the 1990s working as a tour guide in Latin America, he completed a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University in 2001 and was hired on as Outdoor Canada's assistant editor. Since joining the magazine, he has won two Outdoor Writers of Canada awards, in 2008 and 2011, and contributed to numerous National Magazine Award winning or nominated stories. Sexton is the past president of the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors.

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