2010-07-23 / Front Page

Medical Waste Washes Up

By Howard Schwach
Bathers and sun worshipers from Rockaway Beach to Riis Park were startled at about 2 p.m. on Monday afternoon, when medical waste and other detritus began washing up with the afternoon tide.

New York City police officers walk the shoreline looking for medical waste, while a mechani- cal rake cleans the beach. Photos by Susan Locke. New York City police officers walk the shoreline looking for medical waste, while a mechani- cal rake cleans the beach. Photos by Susan Locke. Many of those on the beach reached for their cell phones and called the 911 emergency response system, which brought police officers and Parks Department officials to the scene.

The waterfront was closed, and bathers were moved back to the boardwalk while mechanical beach cleaning machines did their job. After an hour or so, the beaches were reopened for the remainder of the day.

On Tuesday, the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation issued a prepared statement.

“On Monday afternoon at Rockaway Beach, syringes and debris started wash- ing up on the shore between Beach 90 Street and Beach 102 Street. Parks officials immediately instructed patrons to leave the water and dispatched our cleaning machines to rake the beaches and clear it away. We monitored our other beaches to determine if other materials wash up on the shore. This morning, beaches opened as scheduled.”

Beachgoers were moved from the beach to the boardwalk for about an hour while the beach was being cleaned of the detritus that washed up on Monday afternoon. Beachgoers were moved from the beach to the boardwalk for about an hour while the beach was being cleaned of the detritus that washed up on Monday afternoon. Officials from the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation are investigating the origin of the waste material.

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