Bangor, Maine To Fund Hire Of A ‘Syringe Collection Specialist’ To Clean Up Needles
It's no secret to anyone who lives in or visits the city of Bangor, that one of the most concerning developments to come about in the last few years has been an increase in the number of discarded needles popping up pretty much everywhere within the city limits.
Take a walk through Downtown Bangor, at any given time of year, and you'll likely come across a few.
Some are thrown out in front of businesses and along sidewalks.
Along many of the walking paths and in some city playgrounds, finding a syringe has become more of the norm than any of us would like to experience.
Whether along a suburban road, where families with young kids live, or within the wooded spaces where many of Bangor's unhoused citizens have set up space, improperly discarded syringes pose problems for all of us.
Both residents and business owners have complained to the City Council about the problem.
And now the City believes it has found one option to help with that issue, according to Patty Hamilton - Public Health Director with the City of Bangor.
"The Bangor City Council recently approved funding for the Health Equity Alliance (HEAL) to hire a part-time Syringe Waste Specialist to remove syringe litter on both public and private property in Bangor. HEAL is very experienced in the handling of used syringes and can do so safely and efficiently. "
Jill Henderson, Director of Communications with the Health Equity Alliance says the position of Syringe Waste Specialist will actually be a full-time job, that has already been staffed.
"The City of Bangor has funded half the position and Health Equity Alliance has provided the rest of the salary to make the position full-time. The position is a Health Equity Alliance position, and we have had syringe pick-up be a part of other people's positions before but this is the first fully dedicated position to syringe waste pick-up."
Henderson says this particular employee receives specialized training to ensure the safe removal of the syringes.
"Our staff receive things like bloodborne pathogens training and other training to make sure that the interactions they have in the community are safe and healthy for everyone."
Once collected the syringes are then taken to a facility to be properly disposed of, Henderson says.
"The syringes are disposed of at our Bangor syringe service program, where we have been properly disposing of syringes for years, they are picked up in biohazard containers from our office and go to a facility for incineration. "
Hamilton says the collaboration is set to start on October 1 of this year. That's when both private citizens and business owners will be able to submit requests to have syringes in their area picked up. The syringe collection service will be available on weekdays from 9 AM to 5 PM (excluding holidays.)
To request a syringe collection, you can call HEAL at (207) 888-1998 or email email@example.com.
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