Would you throw $9 million worth of Louisiana taxpayer’s money out of your car or truck window?
If you travel almost anywhere in the parish, you will see lots of litter along the roadways. Louisiana is considered the “Sportsman’s Paradise,” but it is hard to imagine paradise as being litter-strewn. Coke and beer bottles, cigarette boxes, cardboard boxes, Styrofoam containers, shopping bags, aluminum cans, deer corn bags, and a myriad of other types of litter have been along the roadways for so long that they have become faded by the Sun. It is common to drive along any road in the parish and see deer corn bags and other litter scooting across the road ahead like tumbleweeds.
According to the Louisiana DOTD, they spend about $9 million per year picking up an average of 63,000 cubic yards of litter from along Louisiana’s interstate and rural roadways. That is money that the DOTD could spend repairing and repaving roads. $9 million is enough money to pave approximately 90 miles of roadway.
In Louisiana, it is illegal to allow a load to become loose and spill onto the highway (RS 32:383). Littering itself is also against the law and carries varying fines depending on the severity (RS 30:2531). Those convicted of litter violations face fines between $175 and $1,000 and up to 8 hours in a litter abatement work program. Simple littering such as trash flying out the back of a pickup truck carries up to $175 in fines and court costs. Intentional littering such as deliberately throwing trash out of a window onto a roadway brings up to a $250 fine. Gross littering such as depositing large amounts of trash into a ditch or having an illegal dumpsite carries $500 to $1,000 in fines.
Dumping violations can carry higher fines and additional penalties, depending on the severity of the dumpsite and the damage to the environment.
What Can I Do To Help?
- Clean out or secure items in truck beds.
- Do not throw cigarette butts or other trash out of your car.
- Carry a litterbag in your car.
- Securely cover trash containers to prevent animals from spreading litter.
- Gather friends and family and voluntarily pick up litter in your neighborhood. (Send pictures of your cleanup operation to BPJNewsLA@gmail.com)
- If you witness littering or illegal dumping violations, call the anti-litter hotline at 1-888-LITRBUG (888-548-7284).
- Louisiana Department of Transpiration and Development. “Dotd Brings Attention to Litter Problem, Asks Everyone to Keep Louisiana Beautiful.” December 7, 2020. http://wwwapps.dotd.la.gov/administration/announcements/Announcement.aspx?key=25332#:~:text=In%20Louisiana%2C%20it%20is%20illegal,which%20is%20the%20Louisiana%20Dept..
- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “Report Littering.” Accessed March 11, 2021. https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/report-littering.