Woman taking photos at family beach makes 'horrifying' discovery

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter


A woman said she was just inches from stepping on a used syringe at a popular family spot on the Sunshine Coast.

Joanne Johnson was at Currimundi Lake beach early on Saturday morning when she ventured out onto the sand to take a photo of a pelican in the distance.

As she strode across the sand barefooted, she chose her spot to take a few snaps before looking down at her surroundings.

Resting on top of the sand by her feet was a used syringe without a lid.

The syringe on the sand at Currimundi Lake just inches from Ms Johnson's bare feet. Source: Supplied

Ms Johnson told Yahoo News Australia she was “horrified” to find the needle but said it wasn’t the first she’d come across.

“That’s what makes it so bad,” she said.

Ms Johnson said the area is often frequented by children and young families and at the time a young boy was playing with his father just metres away.

Sharing the image to a local Facebook group, hundreds flocked to her post to express their concerns.

Ms Johnson was taking a photo of this pelican when she looked down to find the syringe. Source: Supplied

Several others suggested there has been similar discoveries in the area and that they’d been put off visiting Currimundi Lake with their children due to the problem.

Ms Johnson said she has come across several used syringes in the area when jogging and that she used to take them home and dispose of them in a sharps container until her husband convinced her it was too dangerous.

“He was concerned that I would prick myself,” she said.

Ms Johnson at Currimundi Lake with her dog. Source: Supplied

Ms Johnson said the used syringe on Saturday was responsibly disposed of.

A Sunshine Coast Council spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia urged all residents who find a syringe to contact council immediately.

“Council actions all reports of syringes and other hazardous items in an urgent manner,” the spokesperson said.

“Upon receiving such a report, council will immediately send an officer to investigate, safely remove and dispose of the item.”

The spokesperson noted that council will actively seive sand in play areas to ensure there is no further danger to visitors.

In areas where there is evidence of repeat vandalism to a location, an increased inspection scheme will be implemented, they added.

In Queensland anybody who carelessly discards of a syringe can face a failure to dispose charge.

According to Queensland’s Drugs Misuse Act 1986, a person who fails to use all reasonable care and take reasonable precautions to avoid putting somebody’s life, safety or health in danger can face a maximum two years imprisonment.

Anyone found guilty of dangerous littering, which includes depositing a syringe in public, can face an on the spot fine of $533.

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