NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Used needles are seen scattered among swings and slides. The city says as many as 5,000 used syringes are discarded a week in one borough alone.
But there is a new proposal to clean up the mess — installing needle disposal kiosks in the parks.
But as CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported, there are a lot of critics of the plan.
City workers were seen Tuesday cleaning Saint Mary’s Park in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, looking for the needles and drug paraphernalia that have made it a dangerous place for people in the community — kids, dog owners, everyone.
“There’s needles everywhere. I got to watch the syringes,” resident Shawn Laverty said.
“A Saint Bernard jumped in a pile of leaves and came out with two needles on his nose,” a woman named “Monica” added.
CBS2 found needles and the orange caps the drug addicts use to mix their fixes under a park bench on the street by the park. And in an empty lot across the street was a mother lode — dozens and dozens of used needles.
City officials admit it’s a huge problem.
“Our parks are being used as havens for needle deposits,” Bronx Parks Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa said.
So the city is embarking on a new $60 million plan to install locked needle disposal kiosks in Saint Mary’s and 15 other parks in the Bronx in the hope that the addicts will dispose of the syringes in the bins and not on the grass, under the benches and in other places in the parks.
When asked if they think the plan will work, New Yorkers had their doubts.
“I don’t think it’s going to work because what they do now is they hide their needles and they come back to use them,” Owen Cutting said.
“The majority don’t care and they will not take the time and be responsible and throw the syringe in the container,” Laverty added.
“Who knows, right? You will have to trust someone,” Andre Santiago said.
While some say it’s certainly an idea worth trying, Bronx Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. said Mayor Bill de Blasio is wrong, and the idea, “crazy.”
“The parks should be a place for senior citizens to enjoy for the community. When you do this thing you are telling people continue using drugs and now you can do it in the park,” Diaz said.
“The situation exists. It is here. It is happening. Kiosks are not inviting people to come in to do it. We were just asking them to be able to safely deposit these needles,” Rodriguez-Rosa said.
Officials said they expect to install the new kiosks by the end of the month. It remains to be seen how many people will use them.
If the program proves successful it will be expanded to the other boroughs, CBS2’s Kramer reported.