Most beach-goers expect to find seashells and minerals washed ashore on Florida’s 1,350 miles of coastline. Vacationers of the Sunshine State, however, have found something else in recent months: medical waste.
Palm Beach’s Medical Waste Problem
According to a report by local news affiliate WTHR, used syringes, medicine and IV drip bags have been washing up on the shores of Palm Beach, Florida over the past six months. Residents and vacationers of the popular beach have encountered medical waste such as this in the past. But the amount of waste discovered has increased in recent months, raising concern among health officials.
Medical waste poses significant health risks to the public as well as environmental concerns. Syringes may contain infection-causing bacteria or viruses, whereas medicine and IV bags contain potent drugs that can enter an unsuspecting person’s body and cause toxicity. Therefore, cleaning up this waste from the city’s beaches has become a top priority for Palm Beach officials.
Cleanup crews are currently sweeping the beaches to remove medical waste and other debris. A local environmental group, Friends of Palm Beach, has also participated in the cleanup effort. And to further protect the public from medical waste dangers, Palm Beach Mayor Gail L. Coniglio has requested assistance from state and federal health organizations.
Florida’s Medical Waste Problem
According to Florida’s Department of Health, some 42,000 businesses in the Sunshine State produce biomedical waste. Whether it’s a family care practice, cosmetic surgery center, tattoo parlor or veterinary clinic, countless businesses produce medical waste. It’s a normal byproduct of their operations. When not properly disposed of, however, this waste ends up in rivers, ponds, waterways and beaches.
It’s unclear where the medical waste in Palm Beach came from, but this isn’t an isolated incident. Florida has experienced many other incidents of medical waste washing ashore. A separate report by WPLG News in 2016, for instance, found that a dental practice was improperly dumping medical waste in dumpsters rather than sending it off to a licensed medical waste disposal company such as Kentucky Medical Waste Removal.
Of course, Florida isn’t the only state with a medical waste problem. Due to its hazardous nature, businesses often struggle to dispose of medical waste, regardless of the state in which they operate. The good news is that there are solutions available to safely dispose of medical waste. And by following proper disposal protocol, businesses can protect the public, the environment and their brand image from harm.
Kentucky Medical Waste Removal