BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - City-parish leaders are putting litterbugs on notice. They report the problem has gotten so bad, drainage crews are struggling to keep up.
It's not uncommon to see trash on the side of the road or in a ditch, but East Baton Rouge Parish director of maintenance, Kyle Huffstickler, says lately, his drainage crews are getting sidelined from their regular duties to pick up litter instead.
"No matter how much we put resources toward that effort, it seems like it's not enough," said Huffstickler.
Styrofoam, plastic bottles, construction debris, and other types of various litter winds up at the corner of West Lakeshore Dr. and Stanford Ave., in what is known as the Corporation Canal, just steps from the scenic LSU lakes near City Park. Huffstickler says when it rains, litter floats all the way from downtown Baton Rouge to a containment boom, where it just sits until city workers pick it up. Huffstickler says some litter was cleared two weeks ago, but it's hard to tell by looking at it today.
"I could clean this canal tomorrow and it'll rain the next day and I'll have just as much of this debris in this location the next day," said Huffstickler.
He says the backlog is partially due to the recent removal of a similar catch barrier further upstream. But there is no denying that so called "litterbugs" also contribute to the problem. While it's an eyesore, Huffstickler says it could lead to bigger problems.
"As this begins to build up, more debris builds up, and then before long, it could actually stop up enough to where it would stop a drainage culvert or outfall and then it would backflow and possibly flood," said Huffstickler.
He says maintenance crews can only do so much and the city is really counting on the culprits to clean up their act. The littering fine in the city is $117, plus court fees.