Call for more community education on safe sharps disposal

Community members are being urged to make themselves more aware of sharps disposal facilities, such as this one at the new Cobar Health Service in Woodiwiss Avenue, after the discovery of used needles in a residential streets and parks.

The recent discovery of a number of discarded needles on town streets and in public parks and gardens is cause for concern with one resident keen to raise a greater awareness of the problem.

Conduit Street resident Glenda Mazoudier said she was horrified to come out one morning last week and find a discarded, used syringe in on the road.

“I could have stood on it or one of my grandkids could have stood on it,” Glenda told The Cobar Weekly.

She said after alerting her neighbours, she found that one of them had found four discarded needles in nearby laneway when they were walking their children to school.

“I don’t live in a dream world.

“I know there is drugs in this town,” Glenda said.

“I’m annoyed that they are randomly dropping them.

“Is it because they don’t know where to dispose of them?

“Or are they just being pure lazy getting their kicks and don’t care?

Glenda said she’d been unsure of how to dispose of the syringe she found.

She said she didn’t know where the sharps disposals containers were located and so rang  Cobar Shire.

She was advised that a number of council’s Parks and Gardens staff have been “sharps trained” and they have a disposal bin at the council depot for any syringes staff find in their work maintaining council’s parks and gardens.

A sharps bin is also located in the carpark at the new Cobar Health Service in Woodiwiss Avenue.

Relieving pharmacist at The John Mitchell Pharmacy Mark Whitehead advised needles should not be touched if they are uncapped.

“The reason most needle injuries occur is because people pick up syringes and don’t handle them properly.

“They’re meant to be ‘bang’ into the arm and straight into the sharps container,” he said.

Mr Whitehead said he wouldn’t encourage anyone who found a needle in the street to pick it up however, if necessary, he suggested a dust pan and broom would be a safe way of collecting it.

He said sharps should then be disposed of in a strong, puncture-proof container, or a strong plastic container or bottle, which has a secure lid.

Glenda urged parents and grandparents to warn their children about what to do if they see a sharp, and to not touch it or pick it up.

“We’re not going to stop them but let’s do something to protect the innocent,” she said.