Ascension Parish citizens group assembles to tackle trash

A littered waterway in Ascension Parish (Source: WAFB)
A littered waterway in Ascension Parish (Source: WAFB)

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Some citizens in Ascension Parish who are fed up with seeing trash everywhere are doing something about it. They are using Facebook to raise awareness and tackle the problem.

Empty soda and cans, bottles, buckets, and tons of other trash have cluttered culverts and ditches around Ascension Parish. It is a problem citizens have noticed has only gotten worse since August 2016.

James Wells got sick of seeing it and decided to do something about it.

"All this stuff is getting in the waterways and the rivers, and we've got to clean it up," Wells said.

He created a Facebook page called Ascension Parish Trash to raise awareness and gauge people's interest in a community-wide effort to clean things up.  He said in just two weeks it jumped from 50 to over 1,000 members.

"People should care because the debris that gets in the ditches - number one, it clogs the culverts, impedes the water flow; when flash floods come, that's destruction of property - number two, when it gets through the culverts and passes on, it gets to the larger waterways and people can't go run their boats," Wells added.

Parish leaders have long been aware of the problem. Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa said part of the problem is government workers cannot go on private property. That makes it hard for the parish to pick up the litter that often blows onto front lawns. The group, Ascension Parish Trash, intends to tackle it all.

"It just makes me feel so good," Matassa said. "I couldn't believe all the people he had on his website and all the volunteers he had. It's unbelievable."

Matassa said the parish will supply volunteers with garbage bags, grabbers, gloves and safety vests. Wells said roughly 30 people have already committed to donating some of their free time to help put a dent in the debris.

"Right now, it's so bad everybody needs to put some elbow grease into it pitch in and pick up," Wells explained.

The first trash pick-up day is scheduled for Saturday March 10.

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