The Local Area Has A Problem With Nighttime Littering

Disturbing evidence appears of drinking and driving

By Sandra Waine

Exiting off Route 11 in Andover onto Route 4 toward Danbury, you can’t help but notice the accumulation of garbage deposited along this stretch of road. As locals perform area clean-ups, it’s only a matter of days before progress is reversed and fresh trash emerges.

This route, popular and well-used between Andover, Wilmot, and Danbury sees high traffic daily. But during the darker hours of the night, something more troubling occurs and is revealed in the morning hours. A growing number of strewn alcohol beverage containers continue to accumulate. Both sides of the road display the shine of aluminum beer cans, hard cider, twisted teas, and plastic nips. There is no assuming here. People are operating their motor vehicle along Route 4 west and east, not just throwing waste out their car windows; they are driving and drinking alcohol. The debris on the sides of the road acts out no lies. Instead, it displays right out in the open a fact that’s indisputable and disturbing.

What are the options? An inquiry was made with Robert Hyslop, Traffic Sign Maintenance Supervisor at the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) about whether or not the State still installs littering signs. Hyslop responded that “No littering signs need to be posted any longer. It is a state law that littering is illegal in New Hampshire and anyone performing such deeds is subject to fines. If the town wished to purchase one out of funds, they can do that on secondary roads, not main routes. They just need to ensure it’s a proper legal littering sign in accordance with the appropriate RSA ordinance.”

Local Andover Chief of Police Joseph Mahoney was contacted and asked about his thoughts regarding the alcohol containers and other rubbish along Route 4. “It’s a peeve of mine. We’ve gone outside the box to watch for this, we patrol this road often, but not many will do that in front of a police officer. If they do litter, the first offense is a $62 fine; the second $124. DUI is an entirely different matter.” Details about the littering fines are found on the New Hampshire Department of Safety – Division of Motor Vehicles Notice of Fines and Violations area of their website.
A follow-up question was posed if there were any Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrests along this road in the last twelve months correlating to the increase of alcohol containers in the last twelve months. His response was short and to the point, “Zero.”

New Hampshire does not currently have a hotline for reporting litter, but we can all continue to do our part. Be watchful and diligent and keep our stretch of roads around Andover clean. Report suspicious behavior and talk to your local officials and ask them what they are doing about this problem and suggest your own recommendations.