The great weather we’ve been having means that we’re all able to get out and about to parks and other public spaces. Summertime is prime time for children to be able to go and explore the outdoors too. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of news stories concerning discarded needles and sharp objects, and while we can’t wrap our families up in cotton wool we at least need to be aware of the dangers. We thought we’d highlight some of the incidents from around the country that have happened in recent weeks.
Children Particularly at Risk
Often with needles and sharps, occurrences are isolated to specific areas rather than a widespread distribution (although you should be wary at all times). A housing estate in Wigan has been hit with a spate of drug related activities, and 20 syringes were found in a small wood next to the estate. Children and animals have been put at risk, and so the police in conjunction with the local council have worked to discourage people from meeting there. This is only a temporary solution of course, but it is good that steps have been taken to improve the situation.
Needles can cause serious infection, and there have been numerous incidents within the last few months that serve as reminders of how much of a threat they pose. A council worker in Sunderland is currently waiting on test results after pricking himself on a needle hidden inside a toilet roll holder, whilst cleaning the public toilets. He has been tested for HIV, Hepatitis A and B. In Reading two weeks ago a young boy stepped on a hypodermic needle that was lying on the grass. He and his family face an agonizing 3 month wait for test results too. The danger is serious, and innocent people can suffer serious consequences through no fault of their own. In County Durham alone there was 179 used needles found in 2012. This is unacceptable and more steps need to be taken to both prevent needles being dropped and clean up ones that are.
In Carmarthenshire, South Wales an initiative has been set up in order to educate residents about the dangers of discarded needles. Community safety officers will be patrolling needle “hotspots” with special equipment to be able to safely remove sharp objects. Residents are also encouraged to call the local council should they spot any dangerous materials. Under no circumstances should you attempt to move or dispose of needles yourself. Schemes like this are an excellent way to raise awareness and reduce accidents in the community.
We can Help
We offer a needles and sharps removal service, whereby our specially trained team operates safely using appropriate equipment. Take a look at our post on needles and sharps removal for an idea of how we tackle sharp objects, and remember to always call professionals if you come across any hazardous objects. NEVER try to move them yourself.