OUR OPINION: Littering hits state taxpayers in the pocketbook

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Everyone knows that litter is ugly.

But who knew that state and local government agencies are spending nearly $40 million a year cleaning up the stuff in Louisiana.

That’s the estimate from Keep Louisiana Beautiful. The group conducted what it says is probably the first ever effort to quantify the direct cost of litter removal in the state, and came up with an estimated $39,957,773 spent on litter cleanup at state, parish and municipal levels.

The study discovered that, on average, about 1/3 of roadside mowing costs in Louisiana is for litter pickup before and after the grass is cut.

Litter lowers the value of property, makes a bad impression when you’re trying to bring new  business to your town, and damages wildlife habitats.

KLB encourages Louisianans to stand up against litter. One way to do this would be to discuss the issue with family and friends. Maybe consider joining up and helping a community cleanup effort in your area.

We could go on about the cost of the nasty habit of littering in Louisiana, but KLB Chairwoman Debbie Serra of Lake Charles says it best.

“We believe the ability to demonstrate how much we pay for litter is an important step in addressing our litter problem,” she said. “Awareness hopefully will motivate potential litterers to discard waste properly.”

Now, we know litter is not only ugly, it’s expensive.

Louisianans are shelling out about $40 million in taxpayer dollars to clean up litter.

We could not litter and save a healthy portion of that $40 million.

What a novel idea.