|New York beach illustration|
Not many people would expect being punctured while walking on a New York beach.
Four people, who were walking and playing on the beaches of New York, have suffered puncture wounds from needles in the sand, park officials said.
The latest incident occurred Tuesday afternoon in Queens, when a lifeguard, who was on duty at the Rockaway Beach, stepped on a needle on 139th Street, authorities said.
The other three incidents occurred on Staten Island. On July 16, a 63-year-old stepped on a hypodermic needle at Cedar Grove Beach, cutting his foot. On July 14, a 37-year-old was cut in the hand by a needle while laying in the sand of South Beach, near Father Capodanno Boulevard, and on July 4, a 40-year-old was struck by a needle in South Beach.
The three swimmers were taken to Staten Island University Hospital North.
"I do not know from where these these needles come," said Crystal Matis of Elm Park, who was on the beach Wednesday with her young daughter. "It's very scary," she said.
The Parks Department promised last month to clean a stretch of Rockaway Beach, after the discovery of medical waste, including syringes.
The department said Wednesday that it conducts daily cleanings of the beaches, but tight budgets only allow for the maintenance of small stretches of sand.
Parks lawyer Geoffrey Croft criticized the response.
"The government has to resolve this because it is a lot of incidents in a couple of weeks," said Croft.
Rockaway Beach is a popular summer destination in New York and attracts families with young children each summer.
The locals believe that the popularity of the beach during the summer contributes to the waste including needles that are found along the coast.
"There is trash on the beach all the time," said Karina Except after the initial discovery of medical waste. "Usually, on Monday morning when I come here, about 7:00 or 8:00, there is trash from one end of the beach to the other. It's disgusting," she said.