The disposal of unused and expired pharmaceuticals is often an overlooked issue - as most people casually dump them, unaware of their potential effects on the environment.
A group of pharmacists have launched an initiative to raise awareness for the proper disposal of pharmaceuticals in their fight to keep the environment clear of harmful chemicals. The Cooperative of Environmentalist Pharmacist (ÇEKOOP) have managed to safely dispose of 250 tons of pharmaceuticals since it was founded five years ago.
ÇEKOOP Director Şule İlkkurşunlu said traces of medicine found in fresh water sources that stem from random disposal has led to a wide-range of diseases and health conditions, from infertility, neurological diseases and a stronger immunity to antibiotics. "You can't treat water once it is contaminated with certain kinds of drugs," she said, noting that it was important to prevent haphazard disposal, especially in bodies of water and landfills.
The organization boasts 730 pharmacists in 40 provinces as members. They advise their customers on how to correctly dispose of expired drugs and coordinate collection efforts, such as setting up collection boxes in their shops. The collected pharmaceuticals are then sent to specialized disposal facilities.
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