‘Clinical waste’ in river cleared after being highlighted by iWitness24 user

Fears that clinical waste had been dumped in the River Yare near Norwich have been allayed after being highlighted through iWitness24.co.uk.

Fears that clinical waste had been dumped in the River Yare near Norwich have been allayed after being highlighted through iWitness24.co.uk.

Photographs submitted to the site led to concerns that the bag, marked with Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Partnership Trust and labelled 'for incineration only', could contain wound dressings, bandages and other waste materials.

But inspectors from the NHS trust, dispatched yesterday morning to collect the bag from near Whitlingham Country Park after seeing it online, found it contained household waste including books, clothing and plastic bags.

iWitness24.co.uk user Norton, who posted the pictures online, said he had previously seen medical waste in the river.

He said: 'The state of the river is just a disgrace: I have seen syringes and colostomy bags in that stretch in the past.

'It's only 500 yards from where kids go paddling, which is very worrying.

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He added: 'Although they say it's not clinical waste, the issue needs to be investigated. My feelings are that there are a lot more bags along that river, and there is far too much rubbish in that river.'

Nicola Brown, of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said the trust had acted as soon as it was made aware of the issue.

She said it was likely the bag had been filled with rubbish by a patient, to whom the bags are issued for disposing of sensitive items, though they are also used in hospitals.

'We take it really seriously – the bag had our name on it and that is a concern,' she said. 'We dispatched a team of porters [on Friday] morning to uplift the bag and inspect the contents.'

She added that the Environment Agency had confirmed there was nothing of long-term environmental harm in the bag, and urged anyone who sees similar bags to call the trust.

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