Keep it clean: Citizens, businesses encouraged to keep things sanitary

Cleanliness and sanitation have never been more important — and businesses and citizens alike are encouraged to keep things sanitary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

That’s the message from the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury’s ongoing “Pick It Up” anti-litter campaign, which has pivoted to include the battle against the coronavirus.pick it up.jpg

TALKING TRASH: The careless tossing of used gloves — and even masks — in store parking lots is a new problem, says Wyvette Pryor-Cousin, Calcasieu Parish litter manager. She encourages shoppers to “throw it where it goes.”

Special to the American Press

It’s all part of a growing expectation for a cleaner, more sustainable standard of living in Calcasieu Parish for the sake of ourselves, our children and our grandchildren, said Wyvette Pryor-Cousin, parish litter manager.

The “Pick It Up” campaign addresses all forms of litter, in all corners of the parish — and enlists people of all ages to take part.

Trash is a problem, but a preventable one — and it’s clear that we need to “throw it where it goes,” Pryor-Cousin said.

In a sign of the times, there’s a new form of litter. It’s used gloves and masks that careless shoppers drop or toss in the parking lots of supermarkets and other retail stores.pick it up sticker.jpgSIGN OF THE TIMES: Stickers like these are showing up on windows of businesses that support Calcasieu Parish’s “Pick It Up” campaign. Business and industries are boosting awareness and encouraging employees to keep things clean.

Special to the American Press

The problem is getting quick vigilance.

“Let’s work together to keep our family members and neighbors safe by properly disposing of our masks and gloves,” Pryor-Cousin said. “Put those items where they go — which is in the trash can — and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

She said people can help stop litter in a number of other specific ways, too:

• Keep trash can lids secure so litter doesn’t fly away or fall out. That’s been a particular problem since the stay-in-place order went into effect, she said.

• Don’t toss trash into a truck bed. It can — and does — fly out, which is a leading cause of litter.

• Keep surfaces clean and trash-free and wash your hands regularly.

A litter-free parish is good not only for health, but for our quality of life, said Pryor-Cousin, who offered these other statistics on the consequences of litter:

• Louisiana spends about $40 million in taxpayer dollars each year on litter removal, abatement, education and enforcement.

• 36 percent of business development officials say litter affects their site-choice process.

• 32 percent of litter found at storm drains and drainage areas is tobacco products, and that worsens flooding problems.

• Litter in a community decreases property values by nearly 10 percent.

Also, businesses can play a crucial role in the effort to clean up the parish. Employers can play a vital role in changing the culture around litter, starting from the standards set for employees.

Here are two opportunities:

• Adopt-A-Spot. Identify an area that needs litter cleanup and recruit a team of volunteers to help pick it up. The parish will supply free bags, gloves, pickers and vests. You can sign up now at pickitupcalcasieu.com and, when the stay-in-place is left and once working in small groups is deemed to be safe, the parish will schedule the day and time for your cleanup.

• Give authorities a heads-up. The parish has full-time anti-litter enforcement, and municipalities like Charles have stepped up their fines. See litter? Call 337-493-LITR (5487) or complete the Report A Litterer form at pickitupcalcasieu.com.

For more information, visit pickitupcalcasieu.com.

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