Russell: Love the Boot; don’t pollute
Published 12:03 am Wednesday, November 23, 2016
As the Executive Director of Keep Louisiana Beautiful, I commend The Advocate for its recent editorials in which they highlighted the importance of combatting litter in our state.
As communities continue to rebuild after the devastating Great Flood of 2016, there is more litter and debris than ever before. Drive down I-10 on any given day and you will see a mattress on the side of the road, bags of trash, construction materials and fast-food packages scattered.
It’s unsightly, dangerous, diminishes our quality of life, reduces property values and affects tourism and the economy.
Litter is an embarrassment to our state. It is illegal and 100 percent preventable.
It is time for our business leaders, elected officials and citizens to do something. Last year, the LDOTD spent $7.9 million picking up trash on state highways. Yet, in spite of their effort and expense, it still litters our roadways.
We cannot pick up or spend our way out of this problem. We must focus on prevention. Each citizen must take personal responsibility for how he lives, plays and conducts business.
Businesses, we ask you to provide trash and ash receptacles in parking lots and store fronts; clean your parking lots daily; have adequate dumpsters properly enclosed and demand that delivery trucks cover their load.
Elected officials, we ask you to whole-heartedly support the efforts of groups and citizens working for a litter-free Louisiana by ensuring that necessary laws are adopted and enforced.
An unenforced law produces no results. Make this a top priority for the state.
Citizens, we ask you to care for your home. You enjoy all the wonderful things that make Louisiana so unique and special, but do your actions at parades, festivals or when fishing or hunting reflect that love?
Do you return home from a parade with a bag full of beads but leave wrappers and food waste behind?
Do you catch an ice chest full of fish but leave your fishing line and bait containers behind?
Take time to think about how your actions damage Louisiana. Strap down your load. Keep food and drink containers in your car. Properly bag your curbside garbage. Leave no trace, whether it’s on the parade route or at a fishing camp.
Litter is more than unsightly, it carries a huge price tag, costing Louisiana over $40 million in combined costs.
We can make a difference by adopting just a few responsible behaviors.
Don’t litter. Pick up litter when you see it. Support legislative, law enforcement and judicial efforts aimed at creating a litter-free Louisiana.
Join our campaign to Love the Boot. Don’t Pollute. Go to keeplouisianabeautiful.org.
— Susan Russell, Keep Louisiana Beautiful executive director