TANGIPAHOA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller has announced the parish is launching a new anti-litter campaign, called "Operation Clean Sweep."
Miller says his office and the Tangipahoa Parish Council are beginning "an aggressive, full-scale program" to educate the public, remove little from roadways and drainage ditches, and develop enforceable laws to punish those who litter.
A recent study done by the University of New Orleans of likely Tangipahoa Parish voters indicated that more than a quarter of those polled believe Tangipahoa Parish has a serious litter problem.
"Those results do not shock me," said Miller.
Miller also notes that litter was one of the top issues he heard about from residents during his 2015 campaign. Stricter litter enforcement was also a priority identified by the 2016 transition team. Because of this, Miller is making it one of this top priorities.
The parish has been working with anti-litter groups such as Tangi Clean, North Tangi Clean, and Keep Hammond Beautiful. Chair of the Tangi Clean effort, E.J. Forgotston says the parish has made excellent progress with the program thus far, with an increased number of litter officers, an expanded litter pickup crew with the parish, and a greater effort to enforce litter laws.
"The parish has increased their number of Code Enforcement officers from two to five. The number of litter crews has doubled. I'm very pleased with the progress," said Forgotston.
"While we have a big job ahead of us, I'm excited to have the opportunity to work together, not only with our citizens and our parish resources, but also with state and regional groups to tackle and solve this challenge," said Miller.
The parish is also joining forces with various state agencies to address the issues of litter. "We've met with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, who will each be partnering with us on litter abatement projects," said Miller.
DOTD will assist Tangipahoa Parish in keeping the interstates free of litter.
"I want to personally thank DOTD for coming in and immediately working with us to pick up litter along our interstates. Over the last several days, crews have been working extended days to collect and remove litter on I-55 from the state line south, and we appreciate their immediate response to help us in this area," said Miller.
Several cleanups on I-12 are scheduled and will become more frequent throughout the year. LDWF is assisting the parish with tackling the litter problem in local bodies of water.
"On April 29, Tangipahoa Parish, in conjunction with Wildlife and Fisheries, will hold a river cleanup. Our goal is to purge the river of trash, flood debris, and old camps and boats that are sinking into the river," said Miller.
The public is invited to attend the river cleanup event. "I have no doubt that if we all do our part, Tangipahoa will be a model for litter abatement for our entire state," said Miller.
To report litter and illegal dump sites, call the new Tangipahoa Parish Litter Hotline at 985-748-2265.