Public Works Department staff have been checking areas of Seven Mile Beach following reports of vials of blood and syringes washing ashore in the rough seas that accompanied Tropical Storm Eta on Saturday.
Crosby Solomon, acting manager for parks and recreation, at PWD, who spoke to the Compass near the shore in front of the Aqua Bay Club condos on Seven Mile Beach on Wednesday, said his department had received a number of reports about vials and syringes being found in the area.
But he said in his assessment of locations where residents said they had found these objects, including at West Bay’s Cemetery Beach and Aqua Bay Club, he had not found any.
“[After a storm], we do assessments to see if there are any broken [tree] limbs or items washed up. We had a team out on Sunday, and came back again yesterday to take a second look, and back here again today after hearing about syringes and other stuff, but in the areas I’ve checked so far, I haven’t seen anything like that.”
He added, “There are a few plastic bottles here and there, limbs broken, but nothing to the extent of what I’ve been seeing going around [on WhatsApp].”
April McIntosh, who did a beach clean-up with friends Wednesday morning, said the group had filled three large bags with plastic debris. During their efforts, she said, they found two vials of blood, as well as many vaccine bottles amid the debris.
She said her gardener had also found a syringe on the beach by her property on Monday.
On Tuesday evening, when McIntosh and her husband Steve were taking a walk along the beach, they found a vial of blood and a hypodermic needle in the sand near Aqua Bay Club.
She said they were “gobsmacked at the amount of micro plastics and forks and flip flops and plastic bottles and bottle caps. We were walking along with our mouths open and then saw a vial of blood, and just past that, a syringe.”
She said they had nothing with them to enable them to dispose of what they found, so she and friends returned to the site next morning. They found the vial of blood, along with a second one, but could not locate the syringe.
Noting that they have been living in Cayman for 20 years, she said she had never before seen that kind of debris on Seven Mile Beach.
“I cannot even speculate where it came from,” she said. “It’s the last thing you want to see on beaches. You don’t want your kids to be playing on a beach digging that stuff up. It is really dangerous, especially the needles… The vials of blood as well make me [think] this is maybe a medical waste issue.”
Another resident, Karen Hart, said she also found a vial of blood on the beach at the high-water mark at the Westin hotel on Sunday.
“I really didn’t know what to think, apart from that it was weird and horrible,” she said, adding that she had picked it up and put in a bin outside the hotel. “I didn’t make a fuss about it. I didn’t realise that there would be more.”
She said, as a parent, she was especially concerned with what she had found, saying, “My 4-year-old would have been all over that.”