17. Interviews

I've been trying to pin people down to interview them!

Tents at a distribution centre on Lesvos

Owen Grainger - Volunteer for the Highland Refugee Service

Owen kindly chatted to me for a while giving me great insight into the clean up process at Belladrum Festival. He spends time on Lesvos often, so actually sees where the tents go. He is one of the 50+ volunteers that collect the tents and useable items. It is a mid sized festival (20,000 people?) and family orientated so doesnt have the same waste as larger ones such as Download, Leeds, Glastonbury etc.

After the festival they collected 500 useable tents - most of these were pop-up.

Hundreds of others were damaged by being flimsy and breaking, being burned or by being covered in grafitti etc.

The pop-ups were troublesome to put down.

He said the new umbrella pop-up tents are over engineered and flimsy. Easier to put down than poles and the circular ones though.

At this exact festival, the daughter of the owner actully creates clothing from broken tents so they don't go straight to landfill, but thats not the case at others, they get scooped up by bulldozers and dumped in giant bins.

The cheap pop-up tents aren't really suitable for the care of refugees due to the flimsy structure. The more robust tents are sent to Iran and Kios, the flimsier ones go to Calais as the police come round and flatten refugees tents every few days so they're treated as disposeable anyway. This is a sad fact, one I already knew but hearing it clarified is awful. I have the idea that after all these people have been through, even the basic need such as shelter can be a flimsy tent, manufactured solely for fast profit, without a care to the waste it causes, or for the people who get them next.

All the tents are opened in a warehouse, washed and aired out then rewrapped ready for sending abroad.

He said hes very interested in how a tent could be made simpler and more robust. The zips on a lot of these tents also let them down.

Also collected hundreds of chairs, so these too are an issue.

Deborah Fraser - Gordon's Cleaning Services

Part owns the cleaning company that cleaned T in the Park's main arena about 5 years ago when it was still at Balado, Kinross.

All she said was that there was complete disregard for everything, so much stuff was destroyed. There was huge amounts of unessesary waste, mostly in drink cups and food wrappers. Lots of clothes and shoes. Lanyards. Ponchos. Wellies. Props. Things not in bins, just dumped. She could see the state of the ampsite but other companies that are for cleaning up mass waste are used for this. It's too big a job for a local cleaning company, it is done on an industrial level.