BFF-04 In Dakar, volunteers clean beach littered with medical waste





In Dakar, volunteers clean beach littered with medical waste

DAKAR, March 1, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Volunteers gathered to clear a beach
strewn with used compresses, dirty needles and vials of blood on Saturday,
apparently discarded by nearby hospitals in Senegal’s capital Dakar.

The city beach, named Cap-Manuel, is bordered by turquoise waters on one
side and construction sites on the other.

It’s a hit with locals, and children often use it as a football pitch.

But a video published by environmentalist Riad Kawar in late January
provoked outcry in the West African metropolis.

It showed dozens of syringes, catheters and used medical tubes dumped on
the beach.

Doctors later told Kawar that the syringes came from infectious-disease
units and should have been incinerated, according to him.

“Something had to be done,” Kawar said, gazing at a group of volunteers
heading towards the beach.

Some 200 volunteers of all ages and several nationalities braved the sun to
remove the medical waste.

El Hadj Abdoulaye Seck, a dual French-Senegalese national on holiday in
Dakar, was one of the people scouring the sands.

“This project is of capital importance,” he said with a smile, adding every
citizen’s duty was to “participate in the development of our country.”

Nearby, a group of young girls combed the sand for discarded vials. “This
beach is ours. We have to keep it clean for future generations,” said 25-
year-old management student Nogaye Diop.

The waste was apparently thrown off a cliff overlooking the beach, which is
beneath nearby hospitals.

It is unclear who is responsible for the mess.

Dibocor Sene, in charge of hygiene at one of those hospitals, said the
incinerator ordinarily supposed to burn medical waste is out of order.

He added that a dedicated waste-storage room sometimes overflows too.

Local authorities have opened an investigation into the waste-strewn beach,
but various actors including the city government and the ministry of health
sought to shift blame when contacted by AFP.

BSS/AFP/MSY/0838 hrs