Trash left behind by 'thoughtless' millennials turning festivals into environmental disasters

Footage shows countless tents, chairs and other debris left behind in the wake the weekend's festival surrounded by trash and litter in what was a 'beautiful' field

                            Trash left behind by 'thoughtless' millennials turning festivals into environmental disasters
(Source:Getty Images)

Shocking footage shows the sea of trash left behind by summer festival-goers, which staff have branded an 'environmental disaster' thanks to Millennials' throwaway culture.

Leon Phythian has been helping out at the Beat-Herder Festival for the last 12 years but felt compelled to film the state that the picturesque area of Gisburn, Lancs, was left in this week.

His appalling footage shows countless tents, chairs and other debris left behind in the wake the weekend's festival surrounded by trash and litter in what was a 'beautiful' field.

The 43-year-old audio engineer claims that the younger generation's 'throwaway culture' means they just don't care about the impact the rubbish will have on the environment.

He claimed it takes six weeks for up to 300 festival staff to clean up the mess — having just witnessed two 7.5-ton trucks removing tents from just ONE of the five fields. It was estimated that 23,500 tons of waste were generated from festivals in 2014 and 68% ended up in landfill — but Leon believes the problem has only got worse since.

Leon, from Bacup, Lancs, said: "It seems to be a new thing that's begun to happen over the last six years or so in particular."

"It seems to be a culture in the younger generation of a throwaway society. They also have the idea that it is someone else's job to clean up after you rather than [do it themselves]. I personally believe it is a generational thing. We used to put parties on throughout the 90s and we made a point of leaving it as clean, or cleaner, than when we found it.

"It's sad really. You see people have picnics in the park near me and just leave all their mess behind. It's hard not to get upset about it because this place where the festival is hosted is beautiful before people have their careless impact on it.

"It does appear to be a problem of this generation and even looking at the reaction to the video, some of them acted as if they were proud of the mess they left behind. It's a really strange mindset and I'm not sure how to approach it.

"I think it's a lack of education — and I don't mean from schools, I mean from parents. It's like people have lost their connection to their community, their environment and the people around them."

Leon pointed out the Beat-Herder organisers work hard to provide ways for revellers to get rid of their rubbish and incentives for them to clear up afterwards — but they are ignored. He claimed that the site has bins everywhere and every festival-goer is handed a big bin bag upon arrival and receive £5 back off their ticket price if they return it full on their way out.

They even provide a section for people to take tents they no longer want, which are then either given to homeless or sold and the money donated to homeless charities.

However instead, Leon's footage shows the fields strewn with hundreds of tents, some trashed and lying in tatters, others seemingly freshly vacated but not taken down.

Leon said: "It's not like the festival don't have measures in place to make it easy and encourage people to clear up. But these things are ignored. Bins are everywhere, but clearly people don't bother using them.

"If they realised that 40% of their ticket price goes towards the clean up fund — if they just cleaned up after themselves they could actually save a lot of money on their tickets."

"They don't seem to realise that this is a farmer's land and everything even down to the last cigarette butt needs to come up before his livestock are safe to go back on there.

"I love the place — I love the festival and I know how hard they work to put it on and how hard they have to work to clean it up. But it just seems to be getting worse. It's just down to the attitude of the people that are attending these events up and down the country.

"I think there was around 27,000 tonnes of waste from festivals that people had basically just left behind for someone else to clean up. It's a huge figure and it's becoming an environmental disaster. If your tent is broken or ripped, it's going into landfill and will take 800 years or more to break down. It's plastic."

Leon is keen to point out that not everyone acts so carelessly, in fact many clear up and leave their area spotless.

However having been attending and working in festivals since the early 90s, he says he has watched the problem get steadily worse to the terrible problem it has become over the last five years.

Leon said: "This idea of a throwaway society that we all seem to have become part, eventually the land won't be able to take it. It's not everyone — there are people who clean up. Some leave their area immaculate. There are a lot of people who still care an awful lot about the environment."

"But it is a younger age of people, who have the attitude that someone else will do it and don't take responsibility. They don't seem to care at all. There is no point fining people. A £50 fine per pitch between four people isn't going to put them off.

"It's a disposable mentality, a disposable society of people who have a disposable income. They are happy to leave £300 of camping equipment behind so a fine isn't going to have an affect."

Beat-Herder launched in 2006 with 1,200 people attending but is now a three-day festival believed to cater for up to 12,000. Beat-Herder were approached for comment but failed to respond.

Author: David Keane

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