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'Hundreds' of needles washing up on shores of Pictou County
PICTOU LANDING, N.S. -- Medical needles are washing up along a stretch of coastline in Nova Scotia's Pictou County and authorities don't know why.
"The reports haven't really stopped over the past week," says Deborah Searle of Pictou County Solid Waste. "We had reports of a few dozen here and a couple dozen there."
About 70 additional needles were discovered on Tuesday. It's been difficult to get a firm count on all the needles found, but Searle says it's been in the "hundreds."
To date, the needles are being found between Pictou Landing wharf and Lighthouse Beach. No injuries have been reported.
The RCMP and Department of Environment are investigating.A nearby sewage treatment plant has been ruled out as being the source of the needles.
"We're unsure if they're land-based or if they've originated off a boat," says Searle.
There's also been no way to confirm if all the needles have washed up. An underwater drone is expected to help find needles still lurking in the water.
No needles have been found at Pictou Landing First Nation. However, Chief Andrea Paul is warning people in her community to be careful.
"They're getting caught in the eel grass," says Chief Paul. "So I've been really cautioning people not to go in the water, especially the eel grass.
"I would hate for someone to get pricked by one of these needles because I have no idea where they're coming from."
Derek Francis, a Pictou Landing First Nation councillor, is concerned about the safety of everybody in the area.
"I got kids going to the beaches, playing on the beaches, and I got people walking on the beaches," says Francis. "I'm scared for them."
Searle says many people in the waste collection industry have been poked by a needle.
"They go through a years' worth of blood work to see if they've contracted something or not," she says. "So it's very terrifying for them, their families, their co-workers and everybody involved."
Searle says the situation is a reminder for everybody to dispose of medical needles safely and properly.