Msunduzi Municipality’s waste management department is searching for whoever dumped a pile of used syringes and needles near Ashburton Primary School late last week.The medical waste was spotted by an Ashburton resident, Gonnie Bromehead, who immediately took photographs and reported the matter to the municipality.Councillor for the area, Sandy Lyne, said she had been made aware of the medical waste and was “horrified”.She said the needles were cleared by the Msunduzi waste department on Saturday morning.“It is very worrying that the waste was found so close to a primary school,” said Lyne.“Ashburton has had a problem with illegal dumping but I think this is the first time we have had medical waste dumped in the area.“It is absolutely unacceptable. Luckily we have residents who are vigilant and alert and reported the matter straight away. The waste cannot just be picked up and moved. One has to take special precautions when dealing with it,” said Lyne.Msunduzi waste department acting manager Cyril Naidoo said they were searching for the person or people who had dumped the waste so that they can be prosecuted.“It appears as if the waste had been collected over a number of weeks and was then dumped.”Naidoo said it is suspected the waste comes from a dental practice but this is still under investigation. Compass Medical Waste Services operations director Graham du Randt said there were legal implications for dumping medical waste.He said the generator of the waste is ultimately responsible for the safe disposal of their waste and those who dump it illegally could face a fine and/or imprisonment of up to 15 years.He added that medical waste needs to be disposed of at a medical waste site to safeguard the public and environment from the spread of infectious pathogens.Disposing of medical waste is a costly process, however, Du Randt said it varies from company to company.“Medical waste is classified as a class 6 hazard. If not treated correctly it may contribute to the spread of infections such as TB, HIV, Ebola and Congo fever, for example,” he said.