BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge officials are encouraging community members to stop littering, warning it can contribute to flooding.
Trash, combined with leaves and grass, can build up over time in culverts and drains causing backups and blockages. That can result in flooding.
"It's when it gets jammed up in areas where we need to flow to get away is what we have to be concerned with," said Kyle Huffstickler, the director of maintenance for the parish's Department of Public Works.
Littering, in particular, has become an ongoing issue in the parish. Along Old Hammond Highway, some homeowners and business owners complain that as soon as they pick up trash from their yards, more appears.
"Paper, plastic, bottles," said Charles Murphy, who owns the Murphy Insurance Agency along that roadway. "We pick up everything. We're an equal opportunity picker upper."
Across the parish, DPW workers are constantly being called out to clear gutters and culverts. While they are able to get the water flowing again, Huffstickler said DPW said the department does not have the manpower to all their time to preventative debris removal.
"We can't always, every day be cleaning out storm drains," he said.
Parish leaders say everyone needs to play a part, whether by picking up trash or simply making sure anything you use ends up in a proper receptacle.
"It's everybody's responsibility – not just the government's responsibility – to pick up litter," said EBR Metro Councilmember Buddy Amoroso.
"The only way we're going to be able to stop it is to get the public involved and get their assistance to help keep Baton Rouge clean," Huffstickler said.