Environment & Health HKFP Reports Hong Kong

Resident finds 73 medical syringes at Discovery Bay beach in a single day

More than 70 medical syringes – 16 of them attached to needles – were found at Sam Pak Wan beach last Sunday, as medical waste continues to wash up on the shores of Lantau Island’s Discovery Bay.

Discovery Bay resident Moran Zukerman told HKFP that he finds dozens of new syringes at the beach most days. He said that the medical discards damage the environment and are dangerous to passers-by who may step on them.

Syringe Discovery Bay Sam Pak Wan marine waste litter

Syringes found ashore at Sam Pak Wan on Wednesday. Photo: Moran Zukerman.

Zukerman said that the 73 syringes he collected last Sunday was the highest number he has found in a single day.

He said he does not know who generates the waste that ends up at Sam Pak Wan. “I do think, however, it’s the duty of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) to find that out,” he said. “I’m under the impression I’ve provided the EPD with a lot of data to reach some conclusions.”

“I’m also under the impression [the waste] could be dangerous for the seafood that consumes it,” he added. “Lots of the items washed up have fish bites – some of the syringes and other medicine bottles have holes.”

Prescription bags from private clinics

On Wednesday, Zukerman discovered 55 syringes at the beach, 38 of which were attached to needles. He also found two bags which previously contained tablet prescriptions.

The bags were labelled as having been issued by private clinics in Shau Kei Wan and Aberdeen, although it is unclear whether the syringes are related to the clinics.

Syringe Discovery Bay Sam Pak Wan marine waste litter

Syringes found ashore at Sam Pak Wan on Wednesday. Photo: Moran Zukerman.

Between July and November last year, some 400 syringes and even a collection tube with purple blood were found washed ashore at the beach, activists say.

See also: In Pictures: 400 syringes and scores of medical waste collected on Hong Kong beach

Zukerman and Southern district councillor Paul Zimmerman submitted samples of waste to the EPD for investigation in July, but they said that the department has not yet published the results of the investigation.

An EPD spokesperson told HKFP that the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) conducts regular waste clearing operations at Sam Pak Wan, and will conduct additional operations as necessary.

“When sporadic cases of used syringes/needles are found on a beach, cleansing staff of the relevant department will collect them with great care and place them in a proper container… For the sake of safety, the public is not advised to collect these materials by themselves.”

Resident finds 73 medical syringes at Discovery Bay beach in a single day