Monday, September 1, 2008

Medical waste makes for great sandcastle accessories

While many beachgoers are concerned over the recent arrival of medical waste on many South Jersey beaches others have welcomed it. The dangerous waste has been a hit with children from Ocean City to Cape May.

"I like it cause it[large syringe] makes a cool little flagpole on the top of the tower. I took part of my ice cream wrapper and used it as a flag on the needle part of the waste," said Terry McSweeney, 8, from Hatboro, PA.

Experts at the Sandcastle Institute of New Jersey(SINJ)estimate that over 20,000 sandcastles are created everyday on South Jersey's beaches predominately by children.(South Jersey beaches include Atlantic City to Cape May)

Other children have resurrected the long forgotten yard game called lawn darts. Players toss large medical needles, instead of giant darts, some 15 yards into a hoop placed on the sand.

"I like throwing the needles but I like hiding them in the sand and seeing people step on them a lot more. It's neat," said Timmy Sanini, 9, of Cherry Hill, NJ.

Empty beaches this Labor Day weekend? Far from it.

"Never in a million years did I think that I could actually use medical waste to promote the town's beaches," said Stone Harbor mayor, Rubin Rasmussen. "Some of our TV ads running in Pennsylvania feature kids playing with the waste."

One parent seemed concerned his children were playing with medical waste, but admitted he used two needles to open a bottle of beer because of a misplaced opener.

Officials from Sea Isle City and Strathmere have authorized the publication of a brochure listing all the children's games and activities that utilize medical waste.

"We hired about ten teenagers to pass the pamphlets out on the beaches and some towns have given permission to ice cream sellers to distribute them as well," said Floyd Cinders, a member of Strathmere's town advisory committee.

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