Big spring cleanup planned in St. John

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 29, 2008


Staff Reporter

LAPLCE – Anti-litter crusaders Keep St. John Beautiful showed in their committee meeting last week they are still going strong after 10 years, as they are preparing for a big spring cleanup for St. John Parish planned for April 4th and 5th.

“The parish is putting on a push and targeting for that weekend, drainage ditch cleanup,” said co-founder Judge Thomas Daley. “Litter is affecting overall drainage in catch basins and culverts. There is going to be a concerted effort to raise the level of awareness about that.”

Daley said Keep St. John Beautiful has received commitments from a number of groups who will participate in the effort.

The local 4-H chapter will focus their efforts on area boat ramps as part of a statewide program aimed at protecting the wetlands.

The Sheriff’s Department trustee prison work program will assist the effort in cleaning out the parish drainage canals.

In addition, St. John Boy Scouts and Belle Terre Civic Association have agreed to help in the program.

Daley said he is also pursuing commitments from River Forest Civic Association, Cambridge Civic Association, Highway 51 Civic Association, LaPlace Rotary Club, LaPlace Lion’s Club and the Reserve Lion’s Club.

Originally started as the St. John Shade Tree Committee the group changed their name to Keep St. John Beautiful after joining Keep America Beautiful, a national non-profit.

The group concentrates on anti-litter activities and neighborhood beautification.

“What we really try to do is facilitate cooperation in regard to anti-litter activities,” said  Daley. “We have applied for grants to get funding for anti-litter.”

Daley said the group meetings are generally composed of representatives from the parish government, the sheriff’s department and local industry.

“We usually attempt to identify litter hotspots,” said Daley. “We have some surveillance cameras up in some parts of the parish, trying to catch with what you may call a spy technique.”

Daley said one of the biggest problem areas in recent years has been the back-roads surrounding Bayou Steel.

“Ever since Bayou Steel started taking cars we’ve had a problem,” said Daley.

Daley said although Bayou Steel takes the cars, they require the vehicle’s gas tank to be removed, consequently, a number of gas tanks end up being discarded in the area.

In April of 2007 the problem came to the forefront when over 110 gas tanks were dumped at Bailey’s Landing, a popular St. John fishing spot and on a nearby service road.

It is just this kind of dumping Daley and his group are not only trying to prevent, but clean up as well.