Last Modified: Monday, May 21, 2012 7:20 PM
The city of Lake Charles’ victory in the Louisiana Garden Federation’s State Cleanest City Contest is cause for celebration.
Residents, volunteers, city employees and members of the Lake Charles Garden Club should bask in the limelight. Their efforts to clean up a section of the city that judges toured led to the victory in the 45,000-99,999 population category of the competition.
But we should also be mindful that the announcement of the victory came 10 days after dozens of volunteers manned boats and kayaks to pull two trailer-loads of litter from Contraband Bayou. Their haul included 60 tires, ice chests, aluminum cans, paper and plastic bags, plastic cups, a large TV, a grocery shopping cart, balls of all shapes and sizes and two plastic paddle boats.
What’s to make of this? While Lake Charles did win the Cleanest City Contest, all of Southwest Louisiana has a ways to go before we can consider ourselves pristine.
From bags and cups flying out of the back of pickup trucks and, ironically, garbage collection trucks to lots at busy intersections strewn with litter of all shapes, sizes and pedigree to cigarette butts lining the ground to plastic shopping bags adorning trees, the picture isn’t all pretty.
What we need is a change in attitudes and habits.
We must learn that every parcel of property, every tree, every waterway is part of our home. If we wouldn’t think of tossing a cup out of our vehicle window onto our own front lawn, why would we do it anywhere else and mar someone else’s property?
The good news is that folks are pitching in. There are many groups that have adopted sections of roads or parts of neighborhoods or a waterway to clean up on a regular basis.
But that’s being reactive, not active.
The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, Team Green and the Garden Club have been promoting litter awareness. The Police Jury’s “You Can’t Afford to be Trashy” campaign stresses education and enforcement of laws to curb the litter scourge. The Police Jury also encourages people to report litterers via its website, email or by telephone.
Green movements have also preached the virtues of recycling and anti-littering to school children throughout the parish.
Southwest Louisiana has made progress in the fight against litter. But the war has yet to be won.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Dennis Spears, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.
Posted By: Doug On: 5/22/2012
Title: Great Job, LCH
Way to go, Lake Charles. The first half of 2012 has been especially good for our area; keep it up.