WESTERLO, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Road crews working along State Route 32 in Westerlo came to an abrupt stop Thursday morning after stumbling upon more than a thousand used needles on the side of the road.
Police say improper disposal is an ongoing problem but they’ve never seen this many dumped in public.
Road crews did not expect to find that many needles scattered among this brush. Some of them even lodged into these twigs, not knowing where they came from or what they may have been used for.
“[It’s] not something that people normally come across,” Greenville Rescue Squad Chief Andrew Scirico said. “[It] looked like a garbage bag had flown out of a car or had been tossed and they were just all over the place.”
“You’ve got kids going by there in that rural area on their bicycles. It’s just a nightmare,” Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said.
A nightmare that’s happening more often. Sheriff Apple says police are finding stray needles out in the open.
“We’re finding them at playgrounds and other places, but those we do believe are coming from illegal drug users,” Sheriff Apple said. “That’s a problem in of itself. This, because of the volume of needles, it is probably not an addict”
That doesn’t make this situation any better.
“We don’t know if that person had Hepatitis C or whatever the case may be,” Sheriff Apple said.
“What if one of us gets stuck? Now we have to worry about that let alone a child if they were to get stuck,’ Chief Scirico said.
Most pharmacies and health care facilities have drop off boxes to safely get rid of old needles.
Instead, crews spent almost two hours meticulously combing through the brush, picking up someone else’s mess.
“There is no reason for that. Somebody should have reported it if it was an accident,” Chief Scirico said.
There is a local pharmacy a few miles away where the needles could have been disposed of safely.