Dozens of syringes found on East Matunuck State Beach, forcing closures

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — (WLNE) — Lifeguards and clean-up crews discovered dozens of syringes washed ashore in South Kingstown on Monday.

Mike Healey, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Public Information Officer told ABC 6 News that the needles were most likely flushed or not disposed of properly, and were swept up by heavy rainfall.

Crowds did not flock to the beach Tuesday as the water was closed off to the public. Sarah Mitchell, a parking supervisor at East Matunuck State Beach said, “For how nice it was yesterday, I think it really slowed us down.”

“For how many people were coming in, I think we definitely would have filled yesterday, probably around noon but we ended up not filling because we had to tell everyone the water was closed and you couldn’t basically walk on the sand,” Mitchell explained.

Double-red flags, symbolizing no swimming, are posted when driftwood, seaweed and other debris is present in the water.

Lifeguards and clean-up crews found needles along the shoreline at East Matunuck State Beach. (RIDEM)

One beachgoer told ABC 6 News he was happy to be at the beach and didn’t let the situation impact his day.

“It is tough to plan a trip and not know until you get here but just like in any walk of life, we are happy we got here safely and have good weather looking over us,” said Robert Bissonnette, a beachgoer from Worcester.

The DEM will said it will monitor the situation and re-open the water when it is safe to the public. For now, officials marked the high-tide line with cones, warding off traffic.

“The water is closed to the public but the beach is not closed. Once we have established that none of these syringes are floating around or not any debris or drift wood that came onto our beaches in abundance, then we will probably ease that to a single red flag,” Healey concluded.

Categories: News, Rhode Island