芝加哥警局設投棄箱 便民丟棄多餘藥品 | 環境資訊中心

芝加哥警局設投棄箱 便民丟棄多餘藥品

2008年11月14日
摘譯自2008年11月11日ENS美國,芝加哥報導;丁秋仁編譯;蔡麗伶審校

圖片來源:美國國家大氣總署(NOAA)一般民眾對於過期或是剩餘處方用藥的處理方式,常常因觀念不正確而直接丟入馬桶沖走。儘管眼不見為淨,這些廢棄藥物卻對供水系統造成可觀的汙染問題。美國芝加哥市、伊利諾州與聯邦政府為了改善此問題,聯手提供民眾處理這些藥物可靠又便利的管道。

即日起,芝加哥5處警察局轄區中心將設置投棄箱,箱內的廢棄藥物經封裝後,將被運往州立焚化爐銷毀。在這整個處理過程中,廢棄藥品回收部份由美國環保署出資補助,而後續處理工作的花費則由伊利諾州環保署來擔負。

芝加哥市長戴萊(Richard Daley)拍胸脯保證,市民的飲用水水質完全符合,甚至低於聯邦和州立環保署訂定的安全標準,故請民眾安心飲用。

伊利諾州水資源局在2008年3月水質採樣計劃裡,從該州包括芝加哥市在內的5處公共生水或飲水的供應水源中,發現16種藥物和個人照護用品。不過報告內明確指出,若將採樣結果對照伊利諾州環保署和衛生部的保育監測值,受檢驗的水源水質並無危害人體健康的風險。

在芝加哥市排水道內所驗出的微量藥物反應,主要是來自於人類與牲畜的排泄物。

不正確拋棄處方或非處方用藥,容易導致市內的水質出現藥物殘留;而正確的處理方式已被證實可以減少處方藥物對用水系統的汙染。

芝加哥市因4項社區處方藥品回收計劃奏效,若扣除位於鵝島的家庭化學物品與電腦回收設施,今年已回收累積超過1公噸的藥品;換句話說,市民日常使用的用水系統已免受到1公噸藥品的衝擊。

戴萊市長指出,以警局作為廢棄藥物回收據點,所有物品在焚毀之前,都將依法律規約受到妥適保存與監控。

這些投棄箱中回收得的藥物將會被運往鵝島封裝,再由州立環保署運送至焚化爐處理。

該廢棄物處理場係經評估有能力處理這些物品,並且搭載最新科技,控管焚燒廢棄物時排出的氣體。

伊-印州際海洋暨大湖生態專家莫莉(Beth Hinchey Malloy)就指出,「利用馬桶沖水之便棄置藥品的做法,容易產生藥中的化學物質無法受到污水處理場過濾、破壞化糞池系統或是污染鄰近的排水道等後果。」「將藥品丟入垃圾筒雖然可以被清除,但是也有可能因垃圾滲出水而造成進一步污染。」

海岸沈積物專家伯梅(Susan Boehme)補充道,「部分藥局將開始回收一些剩餘藥物,而許多社區也發起一日廢棄藥物回收的活動;雖然這些努力皆值得肯定,不過各界目前尚無法針對這條不斷茁壯且具潛在危險性的廢棄物流,提出長期有效的對策。」然而,「對於社區首長、州級長官、藥師、醫師、固體廢棄物處理商或是環保人士,我們維持每周積極答覆,提供他們所需資訊、協助與解決方法。」

Chicago Police Open Drop Boxes for Unwanted Meds
CHICAGO, Illinois, November 11, 2008 (ENS)

To keep expired and unused prescription drugs out of the Chicago water supply, city, state and federal governments are cooperating to provide a new permanent, convenient way for people to discard them without flushing them down the drain.

Drop boxes are now located at five Chicago Police Department Area Centers. From there, the pharmaceuticals will be packaged and sent to a state-authorized incinerator for destruction. The collection of the pharmaceuticals is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the disposal is funded by Illinois EPA.

The mayor Richard Daley says Chicago's drinking water is safe and meets or exceeds all standards of safety as established by the U.S. EPA and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

A water sampling project conducted in March by the Bureau of Water, Illinois EPA identified 16 pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the untreated or drinking water of five public water supplies in Illinois, including Chicago. But a comparison of the sampling results with conservative screening levels developed by the Illinois EPA and the Illinois Department of Public Health showed the levels found in water supplies "do not present a public health hazard at this time," the report states.

Still, the majority of trace pharmaceuticals found in the city's waterways are the result of human and livestock excretion.

Improperly disposing of prescription or over-the-counter drugs can contribute to pharmaceuticals found in the city's water. Proper management and disposal has been found to lessen the impact of prescription drugs on the water system.

This year the city has been able to keep just over one ton of prescription drugs out of the waste stream as a result of four neighborhood drop-off events in addition to the permanent drop-off site at the Household Chemicals and Computer Recycling Facility located at Goose Island.

By using the police facilities as a drop-off location, the controlled substances will be deposited safely and kept under observation by law enforcement until they are destroyed, the mayor said.
After the pharmaceuticals are put in the drop box, they will be removed and taken to the Goose Island facility for packaging, then transported by the Illinois EPA to a disposal facility for incineration.

The disposal facility is permitted to handle these materials and contains state-of-the-art technology for controlling the air emissions generated from the incineration.

"Chemicals from medicines flushed down the toilet can pass untreated through sewage plants, damage septic systems, and contaminate nearby waterways," said Beth Hinchey Malloy, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Great Lakes ecosystem specialist. "Medicines thrown in the trash can be scavenged or they have the potential to contaminate landfill leachate."

"Some pharmacies will take back some unwanted medications, and some communities have one-day collection events, but there is no long-term solution to this growing and potentially dangerous wastestream," said Susan Boehme, IISG coastal sediment specialist. "We field calls every week from community leaders, state officials, pharmacists, doctors, solid waste managers or environmental activists looking for information, support, and solutions."

作者

蔡麗伶(LiLing Barricman)

In my healing journey and learning to attain the breath awareness, I become aware of the reality that all the creatures of the world are breathing the same breath. Take action, here and now. From my physical being to the every corner of this out of balance's planet.