Gov. John Bel Edwards today joined statewide and local leaders to announce the creation of the Governor’s Task Force on Statewide Litter Abatement and Beautification, which will work to find policy solutions for Louisiana’s litter problem, educate the public and promote community litter abatement activities. Created by executive order and managed by the Keep Louisiana Beautiful program in the Lieutenant Governor’s office, the Task Force of 26 members will make recommendations to the Governor by July 1, 2022.
As part of the executive order, the Governor 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 conduct targeted events to pick up litter in their communities.
“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,” Gov. Edwards said. “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.”
“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,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “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.”
“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,” said Mayor Sharon Weston Broom. “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.”
“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,” said Susan Russell, Executive Director, Keep Louisiana Beautiful.
“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,” said Marie Constantin of the Louisiana Stormwater Coalition.
“Taking pride in our state and its appearance, encourages businesses to locate and expand in our communities.” said Lisa Johnson president of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Louisiana Association Chamber of Commerce Executives. “I commend the Governor for creating this task force. Together we will make a difference in cleaning up our state; gateways, roadways, businesses and our communities.”
The 26 members of the Governor’s Task Force on Statewide Litter Abatement and Beautification come from various state and local government agencies, businesses and private groups and communities. They will include: