Spike in needle incidents

The Hurunui District Council is very concerned that there have been four separate instances of needles being found in refuse and recycling bags this week.

Improper management of discarded needles and other sharps is posing a serious health risk to waste workers, and the Council is concerned that the discarded needles may expose waste workers to potential needle stick injuries and infection if loose sharps poke through plastic rubbish bags. Used needles can transmit serious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis.

''It's becoming very dangerous, and we are very concerned” said Council Waste Manager, Sally Cracknell. Workers had been lucky so far not to have contracted any diseases, but the potential threat to their health was very real,”

The Council is not sure what was causing the rise in these incidents.

Medical sharps such as syringes and needles should never be disposed of in rubbish or recycling bags. These items need to be discarded directly into an approved disposal container immediately after use. Talk to your local chemist, medical practitioner or the needle exchange programme about how to get appropriate sharps disposal containers.

For Needle Exchange Programme details contact the Rodger Wright Centre 03 365 2293.