‘Dormant’ Team Green relaunched in Lake Charles

Published 8:05 pm Friday, March 15, 2024

The city of Lake Charles’ Team Green Keep Greater Lake Charles Beautiful Initiative is being relaunched just in time for Global Recycling Day.

The recommitment to keep Lake Charles clean and aesthetically pleasing will be announced at the Partners in Parks Team Green Family Fun Day taking place at 10:15 a.m. Saturday, March 16.

Team Green is an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and Keep Louisiana Beautiful. The commission’s time is to upkeep Southwest Louisiana’s environmental aesthetic and quality. Mayor Nic Hunter said Team Green has been “somewhat dormant” in the years following the pandemic.

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Team Green has several goals, including promoting the three Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle. However, Hunter said much of the initiative’s energy will be funneled to litter prevention. He expressed his frustration at the issue.

“The way our city looks matters. At times, it’s a little depressing, and it’s a little disheartening, to walk around this city that I love very much and see others not treat it with respect. I feel like we’re all citizens, so it is hard for me to understand the mindset of someone that would litter.”

The best way to minimize, and eventually eliminate, littering is by reaching the next generation with educational material on the negative effects of littering. This is because children are more receptive to eco-conscious habits than adults, he explained.

“There are some things you can do to try to convince an adult in the year 2024 that littering is not acceptable. Honestly, if they don’t already have that in them to know that littering is not an acceptable thing to do, that is a sad state of affairs, and we’ll do all we can with enforcement to remedy that.”

As an advocate for the creation of statewide mandatory education programs on littering, he said that this practice needs to be instituted “BESE down.”

“We got serious about teaching kids that drugs are not acceptable with D.A.R.E. We got serious about teaching our kids that smoking is not healthy, trying to teach our kids’ healthy eating habits. We need to get serious about teaching about litter and teaching that this is not a cool thing to do”

The Team Green Family Fun Day will take a step to instill this education in youth. From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Lake Charles Event Center Grounds, the kid-friendly event will offer activities, games (like a litter pick-up contest), and a chance for hands-on interaction with equipment and trucks.

Hunter said this event is “piggy-backing” off of the E-Recycle Day being hosted by CITGO Lake Charles Refinery, one of Team Green’s longest-standing collaborators. From 8 to 11 a.m. at the Event Center, CITGO will be accepting unwanted electronics like computers, tablets and gaming consoles so that they can be recycled in an environmentally responsible way.


Litter is both a local and statewide issue, and it is important to be honest about the reality of the problem. Hunter recently met with Lt. Gov. Billy Nungessor and Susan Russell, executive director of Keep Louisiana Beautiful. Both agree that littering is a statewide issue, he said.

Litter tends to be concentrated alongside I-10 and 2-10; These roadways are under the purview of the Department of Transportation and Development and the state. Despite the fact that these entities are responsible for the maintenance of these areas, the city has taken initiative to clean up.

“We can’t just throw up our hands and say ‘Oh well, it’s messy, they look terrible, when’s the state gonna step up? … We’ve got to do more than just shout. We’ve got to do more than just be mad about it. We’ve got to actually take some action.”

The city now spends close to $100,000 a year to supplement the state’s vegetation and litter maintenance along I-10 and 2-10. This ordinance was passed by the City Council in October of last year, and allows for additional cuts, vegetation controls and litter pickups throughout the city. Hunter said this work began about a month and a half ago, and “pretty impressive” improvements are already apparent.

With warmer months on the horizon, it is important to remember the city ordinance that requires grass clippings to be blown back into yards. Grass clippings on the streets are considered litter, and can be damaging to City drainage systems.

Alongside the reinvigoration of Team Green, new litter abatement opportunities are being conducted.

Within the next couple weeks, a voluntary program through the District Attorney’s office that will allow individuals to choose to work litter pickup details as opposed to other penalties will launch.

City staff from the public works and recreation and park departments have been working overtime details on the weekends to pick up litter in parks and major thoroughfares. Hunter said the city is extending this opportunity to residents.

“We’d really like to put a call out to people that might like to work just a few hours on the weekend to help keep this city clean. There’s a lot of people out there that already walk on the weekends. You could also walk and get paid to do it.”