Target: Administrator Gina McCarthy, United States Environmental Protection Agency
Goal: Urge federal investigation into the dumping of hazardous waste into the Arkansas River.
Hazardous medical waste, including used syringes, needles, vials of blood, and medications, was recently found in various points along the Arkansas River throughout Oklahoma’s Pawnee County. While some of the waste was kept intact by the plastic boxes holding it, other boxes were found open with their contents missing. Currently, investigators suspect a private contractor responsible for disposing of the waste to have dumped it into the river from a bridge.
So far, biohazard crews have recovered 15 boxes of such waste, and have issued a warning to citizens using the river to be on the lookout for more. The waste poses obvious threats to humans in the form of sharps as well as blood-borne pathogens, which could find their way into the drinking water supply. The unused medications, including water-soluble morphine, could have a detrimental effect on the river’s fish, and by extension, much of the ecosystem.
At this point, the investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made, though patient names remaining on some of the waste has helped track the waste to a hospital in Tulsa. This act of laziness and incompetence is considered a federal crime under the Clean Water Act, which protects American waters against pollution and contamination. Sign the petition below to demand that the federal government find and prosecute the perpetrators of this crime to the fullest extent of the law for their reckless contamination of a major waterway.
Dear Administrator Gina McCarthy,
Several improperly handled containers of medical waste have been found in the Arkansas River, a source of drinking water and recreation for thousands of people. The waste includes used syringes, needles, vials of blood, and prescription medications that could not only pose a hazard to humans and wildlife in the area, but could contaminate the water. While no arrests have been made, investigators have traced the waste to an Oklahoma hospital and suspect that a private contractor dumped the waste over a nearby bridge.
This shocking display of carelessness was a direct breach of disposal protocol and has put thousands of citizens at risk. Furthermore, it is a clear breach of the federal Clean Water Act, which protects U.S. waterways from pollution. We, the undersigned, ask that a federal investigation is opened and that those responsible for this crime are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: William Rafti via Creative Commons