BALTIMORE — In an effort to reduce the number of needles found on the street, Baltimore's Pigtown neighborhood is set to launch a needle disposal bin program.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” said Diante Edwards, president of Citizens of Pigtown. “Needles are an issue. It’s not just limited to Pigtown but we’re trying to do something about it.”
Two months ago, Edwards was out walking his dogs when a needle got stuck in his foot.
“I had to have medical attention and that was a pretty scary week for me,” Edwards said. “There are other people that have had similar experiences.”
Edwards’ lab results came back negative, but he worries others may find themselves in the same situation.
“We just want to give people another option,” Edwards said. “We partnered with Sparks, the women’s center here in Pigtown. They have the facilities and resources to be able to dispose of the needles, to collect them from the bins.”
The program is made possible through a grant proposal for $16,100 to the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership.
The project itself is a partnership between Pigtown and the nonprofit SPARC Women’s Center, short for Sex workers, Promoting Action, Risk reduction and Community mobilization.
The money is expected to go through in the next two weeks.
“We hope to have our first bin installed by July,” Edwards said.
Debris, trash and needles are issues on W. Ostend Street.
Shira Goodman, director of the nonprofit Pigtown Community Garden, told WMAR 2 News she’s hoping to secure one of the bins near the property.
Her group has found needles around the perimeter of the garden.
“We find needles and we want to make sure our members have a safe place to dispose of them,” Goodman said. “Right now there’s not a safe way of doing that. Usually we just find an empty water bottle with a lid and stick it in there.”
Proponents of the program said they understand it’s not going to solve the area’s drug use but that it’s a better alternative than just throwing syringes on the ground.
“Drug use is a big issue in Baltimore and all around the U.S.,” Goodman said. “So, if there’s one small thing we can do, which is help with needle cleanup, that’s better than we were before.”