Bio Waste and Our Oceans

By: BJ Neller   /   January 27, 2017

A little over a year ago today, Congressman Frank Pallone (D-6th) New Jersey reintroduced the Medical Waste Management Act of 2013 in order to crack down on ocean polluters. This was done in response to dozens of syringes that washed up on the sand at Island Beach State Park in early 2013. That incident quickly brought to mind for many people The Syringe Tide environmental disaster of the late 80s in which tons of medical waste washed ashore in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. In response to that incident those states implemented the Floatables Action Plan which sought to better control, track and regulate medical waste disposal due to the environmental and economic impact such improper dumping causes. The key components of this plan include:


  • Surveillance
  • Regular Cleanups
  • Non-routine Cleanups
  • Communications Network

The Effects of Medical Waste on the Oceans


The most serious effect that illegal bio waste disposal has on our oceans is that it potentially release toxins that are then consumed by sea life and organisms. These toxins can then be passed along the food chain until they reach humans who consume this sea life often unaware than many may contain these harmful toxins. Some of these toxins can adversely affect human growth, development and health. The second effect that dumping medical waste into the ocean has is economic. Closed beaches result a drop in tourism dollars for community that rely on this revenue.


The Response to Ocean Dumping


As you might expect, the government takes the illegal dumping of such material very seriously. For that reason there are several mechanisms it uses to stop illegal dumping. The first is the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 or Ocean Dumping Act. The act, among other things, regulates intentional ocean disposal of materials. The other mechanism the government uses is the Medical Waste Tracking Act. This act establishes penalties for companies that knowingly endanger life through noncompliance. It also establishes mechanisms to track bio waste materials.


Today, most companies comply with these regulations but some do not. Those who do not are at risk of incurring penalties including fines and even prison time. At Secure Waste Disposal, Inc., we take all regulations regarding the proper elimination of medical waste seriously. We are responsible, corporate citizens and know that our clients wish to do what is right as well. That is why we have strict controls over how materials of all kinds are eliminated.