Reading Festival is one of the most popular British music festivals and attracted up to 105000 festival goers this year in 2019. But Readingfestival.com states that “tents can’t be recycled and anything left in the campsite field ends up going to landfill or incineration polluting the environment”.
Although environmental conservation is massively enforced, with 235,000 tons of waste still being present, the issue still lies undefeated. Around 68% of waste goes to landfill; it takes 1000 years to decompose. Landfills are contaminated with hazardous chemicals. A very small percentage of waste is recycled, leaving the mass majority poisoning the ocean.
With half of the plastic waste coming from plastic water bottles specifically, there are some ideas that should be used that could at least, solve plastic waste from water bottles, not just for festivals, but for around the world.
For example, installing water fountains at the festival is very possible. Reading festival is organised by Festival Republic Limited who profited £7.2 million by the end of 2018 from 9 of their music events this year. Even if the organisers invest at least £100 000 of the £7.2 million to install water fountains facilities, that would reduce plastic bottle waste by incredible amounts.
If Italy can afford it, why can’t the UK? I’d call it greed.
Why plastic ending up in the ocean is bad:
When water combines with plastic, chemicals like CO2, methane, bisphenol A and a by-product called polypyrene, are produced. These are harmful for our health, and Bisphenol A affects animal’s reproductive systems, resulting in problems in reproduction which would eventually cause extinction of many species. When CO2 dissolves into the ocean water, something called ocean acidification occurs where CO2 decreases the alkalinity of the water, making it more acidic, negatively affecting the marine life and slowly killing ecosystems. There are many effects of plastic when thrown into the ocean, especially due to CO2 massively having an impact on most of the problems that occur, which also includes a rise of sea levels.
Solutions to plastic waste?
The organisers want to charge campers a £25 to camp at the festival to reduce tent-abandonment. In the UK, over 13 billion plastics bottles are used yearly, but only 57% of these are recycled. With 700,000 plastic bottles littered daily, maybe a charging fee at festivals won’t be enough to reduce these figures.
With half of the plastic waste coming from plastic water bottles specifically, there are some ideas that should be used that could at least, solve plastic waste from water bottles, not just for festivals, but for around the world. Living in the digital age, you’d have thought plastic waste would not be a massive issue, when in fact, it is the biggest issue of this generation, alongside air pollution and animal rearing for meat, dairy and leather.
- 1.Packaging water into cans instead
Compared to plastic, cans can actually be recycled; not only can they be re–used, but recycling them reduces the energy needed to produce new ones too.
- 2.Water fountains
Not only does this idea reduce people buying plastic water bottles, it would actually help homeless people who need water to have access to safe drinking water!
Statistics show that 73% of people ‘would like greater availability of free tap water in public areas’ (Research carried out by BRITA UK and Keep Britain Tidy).
So, what’s stopping this from happening? The main preventing factor would be funding from companies supplying water from local authorities for the UK. However, for some festivals, this is not the case.
- 3.Stricter penalties for littering
This might not be the best solution, as even plastic bottles that are disposed in bins, are still sent to landfill, but being charged for throwing your rubbish might deter you from ruining the aesthetics of the planet as well as reducing air pollution.
- 4.Labelling water bottles (if they’re biodegradable)
The fact that a plastic is described as biodegradable does not mean that it should be freely released into the environment. Plastic fragments even after degrading, still harm marine life.