In January, Governor John Bel Edwards created by executive order the Task Force on Statewide Litter Abatement and Beautification, administered by the Lieutenant Governor’s Office and Keep Louisiana Beautiful (KLB). The group of 26 Task Force members—representatives from various state and local government agencies, businesses, non-profits, private groups, and communities—dedicated over 400 hours to developing eight recommendations for tackling litter in Louisiana:
- Establish Fundamentals to Sustain Litter Prevention and Beautification Efforts
- Raise Public Awareness
- Build Knowledge through Training and Education
- Advance Youth Education to Create a Culture of Cleanliness
- Strengthen Litter and Illegal Dumping Enforcement Efforts
- Improve Waste Disposal Practices and Recycling Opportunities
- Expand Litter Prevention and Removal Initiatives
- Support Beautification and Community Appearance Enhancement
Along with these recommendations, 47 key priorities were proposed and adopted, one of which is to conduct a comprehensive litter study to measure quantitative and qualitative data such as litter locations, quantities, and sources; public perceptions and attitudes; and the present costs associated with litter abatement. Click here to view the Task Force report online.
“If we want to measure our efforts, we need a baseline understanding of our current situation,” says Susan Russell, Executive Director of KLB. “This study will inform our forthcoming plan for cleaning up Louisiana.”
Louisiana is ranked the 8th most littered state and our recycling rate is only 12.87%—well below the national average of 34%. Despite spending over $40 million in litter abatement each year, we are seeing more litter than ever. Some costs include death of wildlife, exposure to harmful contaminants, depreciating property values, decline in tourism and business, reduced quality of life, increased flooding, and a negative impact on our health and safety.
“The work of the Task Force was a major step toward achieving a cleaner, greener Louisiana,” says Russell. “Our collaborative efforts demonstrate what is possible when we all work together and have the necessary support from our state’s top leaders.”
On August 16, Governor John Bel Edwards hosted a press conference at Burden Museum and Gardens to share the work of the Task Force and preview the next steps for cleaning up Louisiana. The Governor also announced federal and state funding for the first phase of the major cleanup of a borrow pit at Burden Museum and Gardens that has been inadvertently collecting trash from stormwater for decades. Since the Burden cleanup began, more than 81 tons of litter have been removed. Learn more here.
Keep Louisiana Beautiful will continue to share updates on the state’s fight against litter. Questions? Contact email@example.com.
[Photo by Marie Constantin: Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, Governor John Bel Edwards, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, and Susan Russell, Executive Director of Keep Louisiana Beautiful]