Baton Rouge, LA (KPEL News) - Louisiana has been referred to as the dumping ground for the country, and that statement is accurate when it comes to litter in our waterways. The majority of respondents to a state survey say that litter, in general, is a big problem in our state. A new effort to address litter and clean up our lakes, rivers, and roadways may help eliminate the problem.

David McNewty, GettyImages

The Trashy Numbers

Sure, litter is unsightly and decreases pride. Ugly trash along our highways and in our city streets is depressing.

Considering that a recent study revealed that there are about 140-million pieces of litter along our roadways alone, we've got reason to feel depressed about the condition of our state.

The state study notes that more than $91-million is spent on litter abatement. The lion's share of that cost, more than 36%, is absorbed by local government.

Go ahead and be shocked by those numbers, but hang on because it gets more mind-boggling. Only 10% of the money spent to clean it up is spent on education and mitigation.

When it comes to our waterways, the Mississippi River ends in Louisiana, so we get all of the trash floating down from nearly half of the U.S. states to our north.

Litter collection

Clean Up, Clean Up

Governor John Bel Edwards announced the creation of the LSU Litter Institute that will work toward litter abatement and beautifying our state. An $800-thousand allotment from the Louisiana Legislature funded its creation.

The goal of the institute is to connect local, state, and national organizations, both public and private, so they can work together in their efforts to decrease the amount of litter that ultimately ends up in Louisiana.

Governor Edwards emphasized the importance of a collective effort:

It is a problem that affects all of us, regardless of where we live. It’s up to us to solve it, and by working together and taking personal responsibility, we can keep our communities, state and beyond clean.

Thought bubble

What Can YOU Do?

The litter study conducted by Keep Louisiana Beautiful revealed that the biggest reason people litter is because they are lazy and it's more convenient to drop it or toss it out of the car window.

Water bottles, bear cans, cups, and snack wrappers top the list of visible litter items that a strewn along our roads. Beverage containers, in general, make up nearly 35% of the trash that doesn't make it into a garbage can.

Each of us can take simple steps to help combat our litter problem:

  • Pick up any trash in your yard before you mow.
  • Keep a bag in your car for trash. Never throw anything out of the window.
  • Make sure anything in a truck or open vehicle space is secure and can't fly out.
  • Tie your garbage bags tightly before placing them in your garbage cart so nothing flies out when it's collected.

For ideas on how to get involved or other ways to help solve the litter problem, visit the Keep Louisiana Beautiful website.

Check Out the Top 10 Trashiest Towns in Louisiana

Gallery Credit: Google Maps/Google Streetview

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

Touring the City of Casper Landfill. 26 July 2023.

Gallery Credit: Kolby Fedore, TSM