The statewide event removed over a quarter-million pounds of litter from Louisiana’s public spaces in a single day
COVINGTON, LA. – Friday, March 23 marked a day that all Louisianans can celebrate. In twenty-seven communities across Louisiana, local and state leaders kicked off their mornings by gathering for Keep Louisiana Beautiful’s fifth annual Leaders Against Litter event, a day designated to encourage all leaders to stand together in unity for a litter-free Louisiana. They came in response to a personal invitation from Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, who joined with Keep Louisiana Beautiful and Volunteer Louisiana to ask our state’s public servants to show their support and vision for a clean, green and beautiful Louisiana.
“Leaders Against Litter brings together the public servants of our communities who set the example of service in their daily actions and work toward beautifying our home that is Louisiana,” said Lt. Governor Nungesser. “Their actions create a more beautiful state to share with our visitors from around the country and around the world. I am proud to be a part of an event focused on making our state better for all to enjoy.”
The morning began with Governor John Bel Edwards, First Lady Donna Edwards, and their staff members joining the Keep Louisiana Beautiful board for a cleanup around Capitol Lakes to demonstrate and pledge their commitment to a cleaner Louisiana. “We are the Sportsman’s Paradise here and God has blessed us with an awful lot of natural beauty,” Governor Edwards remarked. “It’s incumbent upon us to keep it beautiful and you don’t do that if you’re littering.”
Eight hundred local leaders turned out for the event including ten state legislators, one hundred and twenty local elected officials, over one hundred members of the law enforcement community, and countless school and business leaders. After morning receptions, which highlighted the problem of litter as a costly threat to public safety, wildlife, tourism, and property values, leaders signed a public pledge which affirmed their commitment to Stand Up, Pick Up, and Speak Up for a litter-free state. They then took to the streets and cleaned littered areas in their communities to demonstrate that each individual is responsible for his or her own space. Their combined efforts yielded impressive results: the 27 participating Keep Louisiana Beautiful affiliates collected 8,449 cigarette butts and 13,765 lbs. of litter from their communities. State departments joined in the effort and contributed the lion’s share of the event’s staggering total results. In all, a total of 267,765 lbs. of litter was removed from Louisiana’s roads, waterways, and public spaces in one single day.
Lieutenant Governor Nungesser held a press conference on the steps to the state capitol to share the results of this immense state-wide cleanup with a larger audience and to call on all citizens to do their part to protect and preserve our state. He was joined by representatives from Volunteer Louisiana, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Transportation and Development, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture, and Keep Louisiana Beautiful. Each speaker stressed how litter affects their specific department or industry, and all underscored the fact that this immense problem is entirely preventable.
Andy Johnson, board chair of Keep Louisiana Beautiful, called on all citizens of Louisiana to be leaders in their own lives. “Parents, teach your children well,” Johnson implored. “Children, teach your parents. Teachers, let us help you implement litter education. Coaches, use your influence on players and staff. Holy men and women, remind your flocks to be good stewards. And everyone, reflect and take action.”
Twenty-seven Keep Louisiana Beautiful affiliates participated including: Abbeville, Baton Rouge, Calcasieu, Covington, DeRidder, East Feliciana Parish, Eunice, Hammond, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Lincoln, Madisonville, Mandeville, Natchitoches, New Orleans, Ouachita, Shreveport, Slidell, St. James, St. John, St. Martin, St. Mary, Terrebonne, Union, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana. Participating state departments included: the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Louisiana Department of Corrections, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Affiliate organizations will be conducting community-wide cleanups as part of the nation’s biggest community improvement event, the Great American Cleanup, which take place March through May.
To get involved in the next cleanup, visit www.keeplouisianabeautiful.org.