Spring thaw brings needle hazard

The City of Soldotna is warning the public to be on the lookout for dangerous items exposed in the winter thaw. In a safety notice released earlier this month, public safety officials asked community members to report any sightings of abandoned dirty needles, drug paraphernalia or other hazardous items.

The public should be cognizant of the risk of finding abandoned syringes, not just in parks but throughout the community, Andrew Carmichael, Soldotna parks and recreation director, said.

“It’s the world in which we live now,” he said. “It’s just a reality.”

Parks staff carry sharps containers in their vehicles to ensure that syringes, which can harbor a host of infections, including Hepatitis C, are disposed of safely.

Soldotna Police Chief Peter Mlynarik advised members of the public not to touch or pick up discarded needles, but to contact police to dispose of them.

“Don’t pick needles up all. We prefer we just pick them up,” he said.

Kenai Police Chief Dave Ross also encouraged local residents to contact the police department if they find dirty needles.

“If they come across them in the city parks and public places they are welcome to call us, so we can come pick them,” Ross said.

Kenai police officers are equipped with sharps containers and gloves to preventing needle sticks, Ross said.

“Our officers are prepared to pick them up,” he said.

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