Wareham and Mashpee have banned the sale of the so-called "nip." It's about time. I hope that other communities throughout the region, starting with New Bedford, follow suit.

The 50ml nip bottles contain a measured shot of booze, just enough for a quick hit and easy to conceal why driving. It's also easy to dispose of; just open the car window and toss the empty plastic bottle. That is why the nip has become public enemy number one for those attempting to address the problem of roadside litter.

Liquor store owners say a ban on nip sales will harm businesses in the communities that ban them. I suspect that nip sales are not what keeps the lights on at the packies and that people will continue to purchase alcohol in other forms. Liquor stores sell an awful lot of beer, cigarettes, lottery tickets, and other goodies that keep the crowds coming in.

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I have two problems with nip sales. I have alluded to both above but will elaborate further. Nip bottles allow drivers, particularly young drivers, to consume alcohol while driving with low risk of detection. Large bulky bottles in brown paper bags and beer cans are more visible and are more difficult to dispose of while operating a motor vehicle. Driving while nipping is not cool.

The other issue involves litter. The defenders of the environment have gotten plastic shopping bags, straws, styrofoam cups, and other assorted items banned in many locations because of their unsightliness and the potential harm to Mother Earth. How long does it take a plastic nip bottle to degrade?

Face it, nip bottles – like lottery scratch tickets, Dunkin' cups, cigarette butts, and a host of other things – are a blight on the landscape. Garbage is everywhere. Eliminating plastic nip bottles could go a long way towards diminishing the litter problem. It might also make it more difficult for people to drink while driving.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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