Posted on Feb 10, 2016 | Newsletter Archives
We all see roadside signs warning us of the fines associated with littering – but we also see mounds of litter that fill our ditches, accumulate near our storm drains, and float down our waterways. A closer look reveals heaps of trash and used tires dumped in a forgotten place, and appliances and odd car parts found sunk to the bottom of our rivers and lakes. It is not unusual to see another driver blatantly throw a fast food bag, flick a cigarette, or toss an apple core out the window while driving. But what about those fines? Are those laws being enforced?
Keep Louisiana Beautiful, in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the St. Tammany Litter Court and the Environmental Protection Agency, have taken the task to hand this year by offering Environmental Law Enforcement Trainings throughout the state.
By traveling to various communities and increasing awareness about why litter is so harmful to the social, economic, and environmental fabric of our state, they have provided education to communities about what the new litter fines are in Louisiana, what defines each type of litter infringement, how those crimes are punished, and how do report litterers in their communities. A big focus of the training session covers how state agencies, police, elected officials and municipalities can work together better to enforce the environmental laws.
Mike Daniels, criminal enforcement counsel for the Department of Environmental Quality, feels that the trainings are key in providing unity among all parties involved in litter law enforcement. “A purpose of the law enforcement workshops is to make local law enforcement, officials, and the public aware that the Criminal Investigation Division of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is their partner in combating litter and illegal dumping. We all share the common ideal of leaving a clean and healthy environment for our children and our children’s children.”
To date, 170 people have attended the four trainings which held in Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria, and Covington. They are open to the public and offered for anyone interested in Louisiana environmental laws and their enforcement. Keep Louisiana Beautiful invites law enforcement officials, code enforcement officers, justices of peace, constables, state and city prosecutors, elected and appointed officials, environmental managers, public works directors, and sanitation managers to attend these events and contribute to the ongoing discussion about how to beautify our communities and protect our region’s unique ecosystem.
The next trainings will be held:
- On March 23rd, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Department of Environmental Quality in Baton Rouge.
- July 13th, for Lafourche/Terrebonne/St Charles Parishes
- October 19th for Orleans/Jefferson and Plaquemines/St. Bernard Parishes.
To register for any of the events above, please email Susan Russell.
DID YOU KNOW?
In July 2015, Louisiana heightened its litter laws to the following:
- Simple littering: $150 to $1,000
- Intentional littering: $300 to $2500
- Gross (criminal) littering: $1,000 to $10,000
Who should you contact to report littering?
- For an environmental emergency, first call local authorities such as the sheriff or fire department
- To report hazardous waste or chemical material spills, call the Louisiana State Police at 225.925.6595 or 925.6595
- For littering, call 1-888-LITRBUG. You can also download the Wildlife and Fisheries TIP app WLF TIP app to report littering directly from your phone.
- For illegal dumping or disposal of waste, shingles, and tires and illegal open burning, call the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality at 888.763.5424
- For illegal dumping of hazardous waste, call the EPA criminal investigation division at 225.925.8490
- For illegal discharge in waterways, call the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality at 888.763.5424
- For air hazards and asbestos hazards, call the EPA criminal investigation division at 225.925.8490