Police Jury partners with DOTD for additional litter collection, Debris dumping worse since hurricanes

The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury is partnering with the state Department of Transportation and Development to provide additional litter collection and beautification on state rights-of-way along the Interstate 10 and 210 corridors.

The Police Jury agreed to the partnership at its Thursday meeting. Wyvette Pryor-Cousin, parish litter manager, said the Police Jury has budgeted $160,000 annually to pay a contractor that works for the DOTD to do three extra cycles of mowing, as well as litter and trash collection, starting next year. The contractor already performs seven cycles throughout the year, she said.

“Based on this partnership, it allows us to cover 110 miles of maintenance along these corridors,” Pryor-Cousin said. “I think it’s going to be a win-win for everybody.”

The parish receives regular calls from residents who report littering and illegal dumping, Pryor-Cousin said. The problem has only become worse since Hurricanes Laura and Delta.

“The issue is, as soon as we’re getting specific areas cleaned up, people are bringing more stuff,” she said. “The Nelson Road boat launch is one of those areas. As soon as we get it cleaned up, people are dumping so much construction debris. It’s a huge problem.”

Aside from lingering hurricane debris, another big issue in the parish is residents dumping bags of household trash in various places, Pryor-Cousin said. Some trash bags placed outside homes aren’t properly secured and get torn apart by animals, she said. “The appalling thing is we’re finding bags of trash in areas where they shouldn’t be,” she said. “You can tell someone dumped it there.”

Enforcing litter laws is key in getting the problem under control, Pryor-Cousin said. She said the parish partners with the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office and the Marshal’s Offices in Wards 3 and 4.

For simple littering, like items flying out the back of a truck bed, the fines range from $40 to $100. Those caught intentionally littering are fined $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense, and $1,250 for a third offense. Illegal dumping, or gross littering, has fines that range from $500 to $5,000, Pryor-Cousin said.

The parish has two solid waste drop-off sites: 5500 B Swift Plant Road in Lake Charles and 2915 Post Oak Road in Sulphur. Commercial, industrial and medical waste is not accepted.

To report littering or illegal dumping within Calcasieu Parish, call 493-5487 or visit pickitupcalcasieu.com.

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