Needle find sparks debate

Needle nightmare: Shire officers attended the vacant land in Nulsen following a report from a concerned member of the public, collecting more than 70 syringes. Photo: Jesinta Burton.
Needle nightmare: Shire officers attended the vacant land in Nulsen following a report from a concerned member of the public, collecting more than 70 syringes. Photo: Jesinta Burton.

A Nulsen resident has praised Shire of Esperance staff for their prompt response after more than 70 syringes were found dumped on land in Dean Street.

Shire of Esperance chief executive officer Matthew Scott confirmed the shire was contacted by a concerned resident on Tuesday morning, July 16, regarding what appeared to be a large pile of needles left on vacant land.

It is understood that shire officers attended the location just 30 minutes later and collected 72 syringes, 62 of which were uncapped.

Mr Scott stressed the importance of the proper disposal of used needles and said poor disposal techniques were dangerous to staff at the shire's waste facility.

"Fortunately, the instances of dumping needles in public open spaces is not a common practice and there are a number of safe places provided for people to dispose of their needles," he said.

"This includes shire public toilets, the [Esperance] hospital and, if placed in a puncture proof container, like a cool drink bottle, they can go in your rubbish bin.

"Unfortunately our Wylie Bay Recycling Staff do witness poor disposal techniques when it comes to needles, which are placed loosely in recycling bins.

"This is extremely disappointing and hazardous to our staff.

"With respect to how to properly dispose of needles, it is strongly recommended that needles are capped and placed in a puncture-proof container and placed in your rubbish bin."

The Nulsen resident took to social media to praise the Shire of Esperance for its prompt response.

The online post sparked debate about Needle and Syringe Programs, which see hospitals issue sterile equipment to members of the public to reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis C.

The site has been plagued by illegal dumping issues, with images emerging several times last year of masses of waste in the bushland opposite Dean Street.

According to the Shire of Esperance, about 90 reports of illegal dumping are investigated annually.

For more information on the proper disposal of used needles, visit www.esperance.wa.gov.au/needles-syringes or the WA Health Department via https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/S_T/Safe-disposal-of-needles-and-syringes