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Over 32K discarded syringe needles litter NYC public spaces

The city Sanitation Department reported picking up 32,680 syringes in public places from July through October – a 36% increase from the same period the previous year, according a management report released by Mayor Eric Adams last week.

At this pace, agency environmental police assigned to the syringe litter patrol unit will collect 98,040 needles by the end of the current fiscal year ending June 30. Last fiscal year, they picked up 69,692 needles littering sidewalks, parks and other public areas – more than double the 32,252 collected the previous 12 months.

“The increase reflects the Adams administration’s commitment to keeping New York City streets clean,” said Sanitation spokesman Vincent Gragnani.

However, despite the unit’s Herculean efforts, they’re just scratching the surface on the number of used needles littering the Big Apple — as thousands of others are discarded monthly and many go uncollected, city officials warn.

Some say the syringe surge is a result of lax policies by progressive state and city pols that continue to fuel a statewide drug-abuse epidemic through controversial lefty initiatives like public-injection sites.

NYC parks are favorite dumping site of used needles by junkies.
Richard Harbus

“The increase in hypodermic needles on our streets is a direct result of years of policy allowing unfettered drug use,” barked Queens Councilman Robert Holden, a centrist Democrat. “Our hardworking sanitation workers put themselves in harm’s way to clean up this city of this scourge and shouldn’t have to.”

The city Parks Department under ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio reported collecting 66,656 needles at 14 drug-invested Bronx parks from May 1 through Oct. 24 of 2018 — but junkies only tossed 11% them in special sealed receptacles de Blasio set aside for druggies. The rest were left on the ground.

Sanitation workers could soon be getting help with the cleanup – from cash-hungry junkies. The City Council late last year overwhelmingly approved a controversial needle buyback program where people can earn up to 20 cents per used syringe they return but are be capped at $10 daily.

The Sanitation Department collected 32,680 tossed syringe needles from July through October – a 36% increase from the same period in 2021.
Renee Nowytarger
Worker puts needles in a collection container
Gregory P. Mango (917) 673-0112

Critics say such a policy will incentivize drug use.