LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Be warned: Starting tomorrow it's "Zero Tolerance on Litter Weekend" as proclaimed by Keep America Beautiful. And Calcasieu Parish will see an unprecedented team effort among state and local agencies to identify and take action against those who litter.
Louisiana works hard to sell itself as a tourist destination, but when visitors come and the welcome mat is covered with litter, it makes tourism and economic development harder. That's one reason Calcasieu Parish recently kicked off an aggressive new program aimed at catching those who litter.
Jason Barnes says the new litter hotline has received some 200 calls. "You the citizens actually have the power now to be able to report people who are really trashing up this community. We send out a strongly worded letter to them saying that they were seen littering and if they don't change their habits more serious consequences can occur down the road."
Now in its fifth year, the "Zero Tolerance on Litter" weekend is a cooperative effort among Keep America Beautiful, Louisiana State Police, Wildlife and Fisheries and now the Calcasieu Police Jury and Sheriff's Office--all working to stop littering. Barnes says, "The law enforcement community here in the parish has been very accommodating and all municipalities and the sheriff's department, they've all latched on to this new program and this new first offense and they're doing some great things and so I think that with the law enforcement out there this weekend being aware, they're going to be able to write some tickets."
The parish's slogan, "You can't afford to be trashy," aims to remind people if a law officer sees them litter they face a forty dollar fine and if they don't pay it, can lose their driver's license. Says Barnes, "In Calcasieu Parish if you litter you're going to get in trouble."