Gov. Edwards announces taskforce to tackle growing litter problem in Sportsman’s Paradise

Gov. Edwards was joined by Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, and other officials for the announcement.
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 11:23 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2022 at 6:49 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Nearly a year after 81 tons of trash were exposed in a wetland behind LSU’s Burden Garden, Gov. John Bel Edwards used it as a backdrop to highlight the litter problem plaguing Louisiana.

Gov. Edwards, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, and several other government officials visited the litter swamp for the first time Tuesday, Jan. 18. The governor announced he was creating a task force to try and curb the amount of litter landing on the streets and in the state’s waterways.

“This is government, this is local government, this is the private sector, this is nonprofits, it’s all of us coming together to identify problems, so that we can get a report by July 1, 2022,” said Edwards.

Gov. John Bel Edwards launched a statewide Litter Abatement and Beautification Task Force on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

The taskforce, made up of 26 members, will make recommendations directly to the governor. They will look at plans like Marie Constantin’s. Constantin is a founding member of the Louisiana Stormwater Coalition and will serve on the task force. She is proposing a statewide stormwater fee to fund equipment like booms to stop trash from entering waterways.

“Storm water management programs take care of litter on the streets, we call it A, and litter in the watershed, we call that B,” said Constantin. “It gives you money to advocate permanent funding. We’ve never had permanent funding to deal with litter on the streets.”

The taskforce will also focus on education to teach folks how to properly dispose of trash.

“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,” said Edwards. “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.”

Behind the foliage at LSU's Burden Center hides 81 tons of plastic bottles, beer cans, and...
Behind the foliage at LSU's Burden Center hides 81 tons of plastic bottles, beer cans, and other discarded waste in a 30-acre wetland.(Austin Kemker/WAFB-TV | WAFB)

The 81 tons of litter behind the Burden Gardens will also be a topic of discussion.

Constantin and Mayor Broome said the funding is on the way to clean the wetlands, but they could not offer a firm timeline. Clean up is estimated to be in the millions of dollars.

RELATED: Baton Rouge’s dirty secret: 81 tons of litter in wetlands behind LSU’s Burden Center

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. Officials and neighborhood groups will be encouraged to hold events to pick up litter in their communities.

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