Environment & Health Hong Kong

529 syringes: Activists submit newest and largest batch of medical waste found on beach to gov’t

Hong Kong activists have submitted 529 waste medical syringes found on a Lantau beach to the Environmental Protection Department.

NGOs Plastic Free Seas and Designing Hong Kong submitted two batches of medical waste to the government on two previous occasions last July and December, but they said that the amount of waste in Thursday’s delivery was the largest so far.

Medical waste syringes plastic free seas designing hong kong

Photo: Plastic Free Seas/Designing Hong Kong.

They said that the department had yet to publish the outcome of its investigations following the submissions last July and December.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department told HKFP earlier this month that it conducts clearing operations at Sam Pak Wan, the Discovery Bay beach on which various types of medical waste are regularly washed ashore.

Investigation

“We don’t want the government to subcontract someone and collect those items and make them disappear,” said environmentalist Moran Zukerman while presenting the waste outside the Legislative Council.

Zukerman regularly collects the waste at Sam Pak Wan, and earlier told HKFP that he found a record-breaking 73 syringes in a single day in late May.

“We actually want to show the items through the media to the public, so people will know what we’re dealing with,” he said.

He added that many medicine packets are labelled with the name of the clinic, the name of the patient and the date. “So I think this gives us a pretty good, clear timeline of when [the waste] was disposed, and how it was disposed.”

Medical waste syringes plastic free seas designing hong kong

Photo: Plastic Free Seas/Designing Hong Kong.

Plastic Free Seas CEO Tracey Read said that some of the waste likely originated from neighbouring Guangdong province.

“The HKSAR government needs to have an inter-departmental collaboration with Guangdong counterparts to investigate the sources and nature of the waste and establish an action plan,” she said in a press release.

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

Designing Hong Kong CEO Paul Zimmerman said that while activists have been reporting the issue of medical waste to the government since 2008, media reports have documented the problem as early as 1994.

Zukerman added that even if the Environmental Protection Department could not determine the source of the waste, it should employ technology to clean up the beaches to ensure the safety of contractors.

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529 syringes: Activists submit newest and largest batch of medical waste found on beach to gov't