Louisiana has a severe litter problem, and Governor Edwards addressed it in a recent press conference. The press conference was held on a bluff above a creek here in Baton Rouge. The creek was littered with beer cans, soda bottles, and other plastics and forms of trash.
Governor Edwards announced the creation of the Governor’s Task Force on Statewide Litter Abatement and Beautification. The goal is to find policy solutions for the litter problem in Louisiana while educating the public and promoting community litter abatement activities. The Task Force is comprised of 26 members, was created by executive order, and will be managed by the Keep Louisiana Beautiful program in the Lieutenant Governor’s office. The Task Force will also make recommendations to Governor Edwards by July 1, 2022.
Governor Edwards also declared that the fourth Saturday of each month will be designated as a Love the Boot Don’t Pollute Day across the state, where officials and neighborhood groups will be encouraged to create events to pick up litter in their communities. In his statement, Governor Edwards said:
“Today, I am announcing a statewide effort to find solutions for Louisiana’s litter problem, which is detrimental to health, safety, wildlife, economic development, and tourism. Our state is truly a beautiful place, the Sportsman’s Paradise, but too often litter sullies Louisiana’s landscape. We lose out on opportunities when our communities are full of errant garbage like cans, bottles, cigarette butts, and food containers, which make their way into our storm drains, which contributes to drainage issues and can even exacerbate flash flooding, creating a serious public safety threat. Louisiana’s native species cannot thrive alongside litter and neither can our people.
“There are issues relating to funding, policy, and workforce that we must address at a local and statewide level, which is the purpose of this new statewide task force. But we as individuals also have the power to reduce the amount of garbage that makes its way into Louisiana’s waterways, storm drains, and streets. Simple things like always bagging your trash, reducing your reliance on single use plastics, and picking up trash you see near your home or business or in your community will go a long way towards improving our state. When it comes to eradicating our litter problem and keeping Louisiana clean and beautiful, we all have a role to play.”
Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser expressed his support of Governor Edwards and said:
“Keep Louisiana Beautiful was put under my office last legislative session. I look forward to working with the Governor’s team, elected officials, civic organizations, and every Louisiana ambassador who loves this great state. We need to educate, change negative behavior, and inspire people to not litter.
“For way too long, litter abatement has been on the backs of a few volunteers. It’s time for everyone to step up and do their part. Failure is not an option.”
Mayor Sharon Weston Broom of Baton Rouge added her statement as well.
“I am proud to join Governor Edwards today for the announcement of the Governor’s Task Force on Statewide Litter Abatement and Beautification — litter affects all communities in Louisiana, and this statewide effort will help create a comprehensive approach to the complex issues at hand.
“We are doing our part in Baton Rouge — collecting over 21,000 pounds of litter from community led efforts, dedicating additional crews to collect more than 12,000 bags of litter, cleaning 11,000 miles of streets through increased street sweeping, and even bringing on an experienced quality of place specialist to implement a strategic and sustainable approach to addressing quality of place. East Baton Rouge Parish will sustain and intensify these efforts as we continue to address this challenge in our community. We need all hands on deck to address litter, and I know the cooperation of our local and state government will help us Keep Louisiana Beautiful.”
Susan Russell, Executive Director of Keep Louisiana Beautiful, said:
“The litter problem in Louisiana is huge and decades old. It cannot be solved simply by wishing or complaining. And it certainly cannot be solved on the backs of volunteers alone. We need attitudinal, behavioral and cultural changes for a clean Louisiana to be realized. Keep Louisiana Beautiful is thrilled to work with the Governor, the Lt. Governor and the task force to make a clean Louisiana a reality.”
Marie Constantin of the Louisiana Stormwater Coalition shared where your trash ends up when you litter it. It doesn’t magically disappear. It hurts the planet and our communities instead.
“When loose trash lands on the streets every few weeks Louisiana’s big rains come along and push most of it into a storm drain system. The storm drains have to send the litter-infused water somewhere to keep our communities from flooding. Guess where the drains send it? They send it into a low area like a lake, bayou, marsh or wetland. This is easy to prevent. Not cheap, and it won’t happen quickly. But others have done it and we can do it too.”
Thoughts On The Litter Problem
As a resident of Baton Rouge and a native of Louisiana, I am 100% in full support as well. I see trash everywhere. When I go down to watch the sunset at the Mississippi River levee, I often see people littering or see trash on the ground. There’s almost always broken glass or people not really caring about littering the river.
Plastics enter the river with the help of humans. In 2020, there were microplastics found in the human placenta for the first time. This should scare you.
I think that people need to be more aware that every action they take has an action or reaction. When you choose to do something, it will affect you. If millions of people choose to drop one plastic bottle in their area waterways, they cause great harm to the planet, and in the long run, themselves. Because it affects us all.
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