Glastonbury crowds left a squalid mess that makes a mockery of their ...

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As I crawled out from my tent yesterday morning, the view that greeted me could easily have been the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Brightly coloured tents — twisted, snapped and tattered — lay strewn in piles with deflated air beds, soggy sleeping bags and spindly camp chairs collapsed in the dust and debris.

Then there was the sea of bottles, plastic bags, cans, tissues, wet wipes and paper cups, mile after mile of it.

Every surface and ledge contained rubbish, and there was a pervasive stench of urine. Wherever you stood there was rubbish beneath your feet — squashed plastic bottles, food packaging, fluorescent plastic wigs, inflatables and even sanitary products

Every surface and ledge contained rubbish, and there was a pervasive stench of urine. Wherever you stood there was rubbish beneath your feet — squashed plastic bottles, food packaging, fluorescent plastic wigs, inflatables and even sanitary products

This is my first experience of a music festival but I’m assured Glastonbury is the biggest and best and, crucially, this year it claimed to be the greenest ever with a ban on plastic bottles, straws, plates and cutlery.

When Sir David Attenborough made a surprise appearance extolling the virtues of this, the first true ‘plastic-free festival’, he was worshipped like a god. 

The event was partly powered by solar and wind energy, and boasted an on-site recycling facility to process cans, glass and other waste. Impressive stuff indeed.

But yesterday, as revellers shambled their way to the exits looking shattered and filthy, I stayed behind to see if the impressive, and ambitious, measures had come good.

While an army of 1,860 volunteers worked in six-hour shifts to bag up rubbish in all the public areas (they do four shifts in return for a free weekend ticket) and empty 15,000 bins twice a day, they hardly made a dent

While an army of 1,860 volunteers worked in six-hour shifts to bag up rubbish in all the public areas (they do four shifts in return for a free weekend ticket) and empty 15,000 bins twice a day, they hardly made a dent

Aerial photos show the state of fields at Worthy Farm at Glastonbury after revellers left. As I crawled out from my tent yesterday morning, the view that greeted me could easily have been the aftermath of a natural disaster

Aerial photos show the state of fields at Worthy Farm at Glastonbury after revellers left. As I crawled out from my tent yesterday morning, the view that greeted me could easily have been the aftermath of a natural disaster

The truth was shocking. Glastonbury might purport to be green . . . but clearly many of its attendees are not.

The secret shame many festival organisers have been at pains to hide is the fact that one in three tents and their assorted paraphernalia are abandoned. 

If ever there were a fitting illustration of our lazy, throwaway culture it’s this shanty-town of equipment destined, no doubt, for landfill because so many couldn’t be bothered to take it home.

The camping areas are shocking. Seagulls fight over discarded pizza and scavengers root through abandoned tents hunting for booze or forgotten valuables. There are also hundreds of deflated — unrecyclable — balloons, the result of youngsters taking laughing gas.

It is utterly disgusting, but sadly typical. The sight of field after field covered in rubbish has become the inevitable fall-out of the summer festival culture as people (usually young people aged 17-24) let their hair down, party their socks off and then stagger back to their middle-class homes leaving environmental carnage behind.

This is my first experience of a music festival but I’m assured Glastonbury is the biggest and best and, crucially, this year it claimed to be the greenest ever with a ban on plastic bottles, straws, plates and cutlery

This is my first experience of a music festival but I’m assured Glastonbury is the biggest and best and, crucially, this year it claimed to be the greenest ever with a ban on plastic bottles, straws, plates and cutlery

On Sunday, the last day of the festival, I watched youngsters — who’d cheered Sir David like the saviour of ‘their’ planet — toss plastic cups and plates thoughtlessly on the ground. 

Every surface and ledge contained rubbish, and there was a pervasive stench of urine. Wherever you stood there was rubbish beneath your feet — squashed plastic bottles, food packaging, fluorescent plastic wigs, inflatables and even sanitary products.

The festival may have banned the sale of single-use plastic bottles this year, but as the crowds dispersed you could see thousands of them. 

They’d been brought in, many containing alcohol decanted from glass bottles that are barred from the site and would be confiscated on arrival. 

While an army of 1,860 volunteers worked in six-hour shifts to bag up rubbish in all the public areas (they do four shifts in return for a free weekend ticket) and empty 15,000 bins twice a day, they hardly made a dent.

And though Glastonbury’s decision to ban bottles is expected to save 40 tonnes of plastic, the tents and camping gear remain a big fat plastic problem.

Figures from last year’s Reading and Leeds festivals report that 43 per cent of revellers dumped their camping gear when they left. 

At Glastonbury there are signs at each camping area saying ‘please take your tent home’ and stewards meander through the camping fields as everyone is leaving, offering rubbish bags and encouraging people to pack up their stuff

At Glastonbury there are signs at each camping area saying ‘please take your tent home’ and stewards meander through

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