Pictou Landing First Nations Chief Andrea Paul has been spreading the word to be careful and avoid the water on beaches around the Pictou Landing Reserve after dozens of syringes have been found scattered across beaches.
Paul found out about the issue when she received a Facebook message about needles being found by some walkers on a local beach. So far, there have been a few dozen found in total on local beaches such as the beach by the lighthouse, 26 were found at Fare Wharf, more than three dozen near the Lower Road shore, and about 20 more found at Lighthouse Beach. She said she has since been in contact with the RCMP as well as Pictou County Solid Waste and the Mi’kmaq Conservation Group who are all helping with the matter.
RCMP as well as Pictou County Solid Waste have been cleaning up the needles as they have been reported by citizens. Members of the Mi’kmaq Conservation Group have also offered to come and clear the beach areas with an underwater drone to find out if there are more in the water around the area.
“I have no idea where they came from,” shared Paul. She shared that as the needle exchange has been closed due to COVID-19 it is possible that someone who uses needles daily may have filled their container and did not know what to do with them.
“They must have just dumped them in the water,” said Paul adding that some of the needles are capped and some are not so they can certainly pose a threat to children and adults on the beach and especially in the water.
“I was worried about a kid or an adult being pricked,” she said.
The incident is something that has not happened before in the area, Paul said, and those who frequent the beach shared that just two days before the needles were initially found there was nothing on the beach so the dump had been recent. Paul warned that those who are still going to beaches in the area should call Pictou County Solid Waste or the RCMP and mark the needles so they can easily be found and picked up by those trained to dispose of them.
Currently, for members of the PLFN community, needle exchange is available again at the Pictou Landing First Nations Health Centre for those who rely on the service for medical conditions.