LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A bill to double littering fines in Louisiana awaits a final vote in the state House after the Senate approved it on Wednesday.
If SB 33 passes in the House, the fine for littering would increase from $75 to $150.
As state lawmakers are on the brink of passing this legislation, one local organization dedicated to keeping Southwest Louisiana clean is already in support of the new potential law.
Eligha Guillory Junior is the liaison for the organization, Keep Greater Lake Charles Beautiful - Team Green. It's an organization that focuses on educating the community on the importance of keeping litter and trash off the roads. Team Green, for short, hosts community events throughout the year, where members will spend the day cleaning up litter left behind on city streets.
Guillory said the hike in fines might get residents to start picking up trash.
"I think it's great. Of course, it will awaken people's senses that this is serious. You know, because there are many effects about it so we're excited that some thing like this may take force," said Guillory.
On Monday, the group rewarded local elementary, middle and high schools with trophies and monetary prizes for keeping their campuses clean.
Group leaders explained the importance of teaching students about picking up trash and keeping the community clean. They said students are the ones that will take the lessons home and pass it on.
“Just like anything, you teach the child and a lot of times they go home and tell their parents. They tell their siblings and then it becomes a family program,” Guillory said.
That's how 13-year-old Isaac Broussard got involved. Isaac is a three-year veteran of Junior Team Green. Junior Team Green is a group of students who meet throughout the school year to go into the community to pick up litter and come up with ways to educate their peers about the environmental impact of littering. Isaac got involved in elementary school and whenever he sees trash on the streets, his first instinct is to pick it up and throw it away.
"We always clean up trash whenever we see it because there's like no reason to like not pick up something that insignificant. What's it going to do to you? You might as well do it," Broussard said.
Isaac said the duty of keeping the city cleans falls on the shoulders of residents, mainly because every one has to look at it.
"You don't want to go around every day like, 'It's a good day. It's sunny outside,' and then you see trash everywhere," explained Broussard. "I mean, the cleaner you keep your city, the happier you are going to be."
Organizers also said it's not just about picking up things you've left behind, but picking up things that others might have dropped along the way.
"We just need to pick it up and sometimes we have to pick up after, not only ourselves, but other people. Often times, we see water bottles and fast food boxes and different things on the ground and a lot of times, we just have to pick it up to make, not only our area, but our entire community that much more of a beautiful place," said Guillory.
To find out more information about Team Green, call City Hall at (337) 491-1440.