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Overflowing bins and lack of incentives - Don't just blame youngsters for Sundown mess

PUBLISHED: 15:56 04 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:48 04 September 2019

The state of the Royal Norfolk Showground after Sundown Festival. Photographed on Wednesday September 4. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

The state of the Royal Norfolk Showground after Sundown Festival. Photographed on Wednesday September 4. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

When pictures emerged on Monday showing the aftermath of Sundown Festival, disgruntled locals commented on the story branding the young people "dirty pigs" and that their parents should be ashamed.

Tents and waste left at the Norfolk Showground after Sundown Festival. Picture: Jamie Honeywood Tents and waste left at the Norfolk Showground after Sundown Festival. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Ever since David Attenborough's Blue Planet aired in 2017, there has been a huge drive to stop using single-use plastic and it woke the world to the sheer quantity of rubbish that is dumped.

Young people such as Greta Thunberg have been at forefront of this drive for change and painting a picture of the generation as a stain on society for leaving rubbish at a festival isn't fair.

Sure they should know better, but the fact is that people at festivals are generally drunk and don't want to lose their mates, so throwing away rubbish needs to be as easy as possible.

Helen commented on our Facebook post: "My daughter went and took a rubbish bag to put her rubbish in but the bins were overflowing by the Friday teatime and were not emptied all weekend so nowhere to put any rubbish so had to leave her rubbish bag beside the bin."

Her experience was echoed by Charlotte who said: "Maybe if they provided adequate rubbish disposal people would have been able to put their rubbish in one instead of next to it because it was full."

Tents and waste left at the Norfolk Showground after Sundown Festival. Picture: Jamie Honeywood Tents and waste left at the Norfolk Showground after Sundown Festival. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

READ MORE: 'Absolutely disgusting' - Shock after Sundown Festival-goers leave Showground piled with rubbish

I was also at Sundown and to start with the McDonalds van that was in the festival site was giving away free boxes of chicken nuggets to anyone that went in their photo booth and unsurprisingly it was very popular.

Unfortunately, the nearby bins weren't emptied often enough to keep up with the demand which led to fast food boxes and cans erupting from them and a carpet of litter on the ground.

This was the same for a lot of the bins on the site which I didn't think there was enough of for the 22,000 people that were there each day.

There needed to have been much larger bins and staff on top of emptying them - it is more a case of the festival-goers being a bit lazy than turtle murderers who should never be allowed out again.

Also, at other festivals such as Reading, Leeds and Latitude, people can get money off drinks by collecting cups and giving them in.

Although thankfully paper cups were used at the Sundown, I didn't see anyone stacking them up to get a free Koppaberg.

In terms of the campsite, hundreds of tents were left behind along with piles of litter and, although the undamaged ones will be donated to homeless charities, it is clear more needs to be done.

I spoke to the Sundown organisers after the event and they said the number of tents had reduced by 30pc compared to last year.

This was due to their Planet Sundown initiative which included messages on the big screens, free rubbish bags and biodegradable glitter available to order and pick up at the event, however, despite their best efforts, it was not enough.

Clean Up Britain recently called for a £25 tent tax, where a deposit would be taken and given back if tents are taken home after research indicated around 23,500 tonnes of waste is produced each year by festivals across the country.

Tents and waste left at the Norfolk Showground after Sundown Festival. Picture: Jamie Honeywood Tents and waste left at the Norfolk Showground after Sundown Festival. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Other ideas from our readers included Anastasia who said they should sell the "camping tickets as plots and if your plot is left a tip you should get charged a clean up fee" and Linda who suggested the "performers could do an environmental message".

Following this year's mess, organisers said they will be announcing a new initiative for 2020 to make improvements at the end of this week and hopefully this will include more incentives for youngsters to keep the Showground tidy.

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