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Students discover discarded medical waste on Phuket beach

The Year 5 students of Phuket International Academy (PIA) were out on their weekly “Education Outside The Classroom” trip at Naiyang Beach when they came across something a little disturbing. A large, worrying amount of medical waste including needles, syringes, and medical bottles that were caught amongst the driftwood and trash on the sand.

By Dalia Hilmi

Sunday 20 September 2015, 10:00AM

Whether the trash had been dumped by a local clinic or been disposed of offshore and
then washed up, is unknown. But, a concern which has been brought to light is just how
safe this is for not only children, but for anyone spending time there. Who dumped all of
this trash? And why? And what can be done to prevent this from happening again?

The Phuket News paid a little trip to PIA to find out what the kids think and what
they think needs to be done.

Grade 5 teacher, James Weekes explained that the class all agreed what kind of things are at risk in this situation.

“We talked about infection, and how touching syringes and needles can have a lifelong effect, and how we don’t want to risk the children’s lives,” says James.

“We often go and do a beach clean at Naiyang, but this time the job was just far too big for us.”

The general consensus was that more police should be around and people need to be better educated about looking after the environment and how important this is.

“There was so much medical stuff packed together, that it made me think it had been dumped,” said James.

Hunter, originally from Australia, was one of the kids who was deeply angered by this. He said, “I always go to Naiyang on the weekends with my family, but when I came this time I was annoyed. How can people feel like throwing trash like this on the beach. It’s so beautiful, some people just don’t care. I’m so angry and sad.”

Splash Beach Club

Araya also agreed, “I was disgusted that there would be things like this [on the beach]. We found more and more, and I felt uneasy and unsafe.”

The students also voted for more signs, more trash bins etc, to be put in place, but indeed it seems something more extreme needs to be done. “I think the trash needs to be looked at closely in order to try and find the source,” explained James.

“When I see a bunch of medical supplies on the beach, I don’t think it’s going to be tourists or the people who work on the beaches. Because, they want to look out for those who do come and relax on the beach. They’re businesses’ depend on tourists, so you wouldn’t think they’re the ones leaving the big dumps.”

“At the end of the day, we want the beaches to be beautiful and safe. This time, it felt so unsafe. Our health and safety officer who had been on trips with us at the start of the year, said that now we cannot take the children for the timebeing, we cannot risk they’re lives. It’s too dangerous.”

So, indeed more needs to be done. Perhaps this situation will raise awareness, and despite the number of beach cleans up currently in process, having medical supplies being washed up on the beach takes things to a new level. A more dangerous one.

“We found inappropriate things and I was very sad that people don’t care about the environment. I know that we’re all going to stop this,” said hopeful Anissa.

With high-season just around the corner, one can only hope that the beaches return to the beautiful and clean standards that they should be and have been in the past. 



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