A mother walking through a western Sydney park with her toddler has been left shaken after her child picked up what she thought was a stick – only to find a needle in his hand.
Jasmine Barnett was with her 13-month-old son at Pioneers’ Memorial Park in Liverpool on Wednesday afternoon when she saw him pick up an object in the grass.
“My first thought was a stick since he loves picking sticks up but on closer look it was a syringe with the needle still attached,” she told Yahoo News Australia.
Thankfully, her son wasn’t injured but the 23-year-old mum said she was flooded with “a whole wave of anger and worry”.
“The fact that my son, a baby, was able to pick it up… like if it wasn’t us it could’ve been someone else’s child to fall or step on it.
“In general anyone could’ve been pricked by it so it’s just not right.”
It’s not the first time Ms Barnett has seen sharps carelessly disposed of in public areas.
“I’ve seen too many syringes around Liverpool in the gutters, bus stops and parks,” she said.
More sharps bins needed, mum says
Sharing the sickening find with other residents on Facebook, Ms Barnett also vowed to start a petition to push Liverpool City Council to take further action against loose needles and syringes.
“There needs to be more help services (for injectors), installation of more needle bins, possibly blue lights around parks,” she said.
"I would be so disappointed to see an issue like this ignored since it’s a health risk to the entire community.”
Dozens of other residents agreed that “something needs to be done” about the number of needles and syringes found in public spaces.
“It’s filthy and needs to be stopped,” one woman wrote.
Liverpool Hospital currently provides free syringes via a self-serve dispenser as part of the government’s Needle and Syringe Program.
One Facebook user suggested only handing out free needles in exchange for used ones.
Liverpool City Council said the correct disposal of injecting equipment is “extremely important”.
In an initiative to curb public littering of needles, council has a needle disposal and collection program through 28 pharmacies in the Liverpool council area who supply 1.4 litre sharps bins for free and will also take back full containers for disposal.
“If a member of the public finds a community sharp in a public place, we ask they contact Liverpool City Council customer service on 1300 36 2170 immediately,” a spokesperson said.
“Liverpool City Council also provides community sharps bins in 10 locations across the CBD and suburbs, including one in Pioneers Park.”
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