Safety fears after needles found at popular spot
NUMEROUS needles, packets and yellow containers were found “suspended in grass” and strewn across the ground at Cedars Crossing by Burnett River Clean’s Glenn Rumsey recently.
Disgusted by the sight and the danger it presented to people who might go swimming at Cedars, Mr Rumsey is urging the community to look out for needles when visiting local swimming areas.
He stressed that if a child had run through that grass to get to the water, they could have come into contact with a needle.
No stranger to the amount of needles left littering the region’s waterways, Mr Rumsey said in the past he had easily picked up 200-300 needles along the Burnett River banks.
He puts the needles he finds in a stainless steel box at the hospital, and he’s not the only one recognising the number of needles found in the region.
Senior Constable Brittany Duncan said this was a common problem in our area.
“Too many times these objects are found in local playgrounds and public areas where our children are innocently playing and unaware of the consequences of picking up such items,” she said.
“If there is evidence available to prosecute an offender for failing to dispose we will.”
Constable Duncan said this was a timely reminder to members of the community that it’s an offence for anyone who fails to correctly dispose of a hypodermic syringe or needle, with a penalty of two years in jail.
“Next time you consider dumping a syringe without following the proper procedures for disposal, ask yourself ‘Would you want a family member or friend to accidentally pick this up and spend the rest of their life paying the consequences?” she said.
She said to ensure syringes or needles are handled carefully and are put in a strong container that they cannot pierce and that can seal so no one else can be injured.
“You can buy Australian standard yellow sharps containers from pharmacies or you can use a strong container that cannot be pierced by a sharp, made from heavy/thick plastic and with a tight-fitting or childproof lid,” she said.
If people find needles, they can be disposed of using disposal services as per Clean Needle Helpline, which provides information about removing discarded needles and syringes from public places and information about what to do after a needlestick injury. Sharps and sharps containers can be disposed of using Bundaberg’s free sharps, syringe and needle disposal services at: Bundaberg, Friendly Society Private, Childers or Gin Gin hospitals and Bundaberg or Qunaba Waste Facility.
You can phone the helpline on 1800 633 353.