Louisiana to have the first Litter Institute in the country

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The Don’t Pollute the Boot state is now home to the first-ever Litter Institute in the country. Executive Director of Keep Louisiana Beautiful Susan Russell said the LSU Litter Institute will not only study the trash issue locally but across the nation to find solutions.

“I think this could be really a game changer for Louisiana, it’s a huge opportunity for LSU to pull together the best of the best from around the country,” said Russell.

Governor John Bel Edwards championed the issue, along with Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, and asked the legislature for $800,000 to establish the institute.

Russell said the institute is filling a void because there’s no central location for best practices and studies on the issue. She said it goes beyond people simply not disposing of trash properly and it’s a complicated issue.

“For us, I think it’s so much in drudged just in our culture and now we’re dealing with debris and construction from natural disasters. It’s infrastructure providing people with the means for recycling and reducing waste,” said Russell.

A recent survey said there are approximately 144 million pieces on Louisiana roadways alone.

Russell said the Bayou State is literally a trash receptacle for other states because of litter that flows into the Mississippi River and ultimately the Gulf. Louisiana receives the drainage of approximately 100 million people, 40 percent of the continental US.

“Eighty percent of marine litter and debris begins on land. So, if it’s not removed from land it’s going to make its way through the storm drain, ultimately into the Mississippi River Basin which travels down the middle of our state,” said Russell.

Trash flowing into the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi River has resulted in some of the highest concentrations of microplastics in the world which impacts the state’s seafood industry.

For more information visit KeepLouisianaBeautiful.org

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