Burning Man attendees are infamous for dumping trash and supplies in nearby towns as they travel home.
This trend comes despite the festival's "leave no trace" philosophy and warnings to limit trash.
And with 70,000 trapped attendees and many hiking to escape, this year could mean even more litter.
That means attendees are responsible to take all of their trash and belongings with them. The festival doesn't even provide trash cans.
But in recent years, residents of nearby towns have complained of attendees littering the festival grounds, as well as dumping trash and used belongings throughout the streets as they travel home. This year could get a whole lot worse.
That's because people are beginning to defy the shelter-in-place order, hiking six miles to escape festival grounds. That means some are leaving behind vehicles, personal belongings, and likely any trash they generated. And when the attendees are finally allowed to leave, there's it's yet to be seen what will happen to the nearby cities as tens of thousands of festival-goers rush out.
Last year's festival brought 80,000 to Black Rock City, Nevada — a pop-up city that only exists for the annual event. It also brought heaps to trash to the Reno and Lake Tahoe areas, local outlet SF Gate reported. California business owner Mark Lowenstern told the outlet people consistently dump trash, food, tents, and more at his facility.
"The most egregious ones are late at night, with people unloading everything you can think of. The ones at night know what they're doing isn't right, they treat my business like a public dump," Lowenstern told SF Gate.
And in 2019, an official with Nevada Waste Management said most businesses in the area have dealt with some degree of illegal dumping from festival-goers.
"Most of the businesses that we work with have experienced this before, so they may call us for additional dumpsters," Kendra Kostelecky told local outlet KUNR. "There are some businesses in town that order dumpsters to use when they stop at their property."
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