The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division (LDWF-LED) will join forces with Keep Louisiana Beautiful, Louisiana State Police, local law enforcement agencies and other community partners across the state in the fourth annual "Zero Tolerance for Litter" campaign April 4-6.
Participating agencies and partners hope to raise public awareness that littering is illegal and punishable by fines, community service, driver's license suspensions and possible imprisonment.
"Our goal is to remind everybody that littering is an avoidable blight on our metropolitan and rural landscape and if simple steps are taken to dispose of trash properly, residents and visitors to Louisiana benefit from that effort," said Robert Barham, LDWF secretary. "Enforcement agents on the water and in the woods this weekend will be part of the heightened statewide push to stop violators."
The mission served by LDWF-LED includes protecting Louisiana's natural resources and serving the responsible, law-abiding people who use them. That duty includes reducing litter by detecting, investigating and prosecuting those who dispose of their trash carelessly, improperly and illegally.
A 2008 agency report, "The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division Continues Its Campaign Against Littering", details field activity from July 1, 1991 to June 30, 2007. LDWF-LED agents issued 4,819 citations for intentional littering and gross littering during that time. The report notes a rise in littering-related citations from 229 in fiscal year 1992 to 716 in fiscal year 2007. A copy of the report is available on the LDWF web site at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/pdfs/publicservices/LED_Anti_Littering_Efforts_040108.pdf.
Since 2006, when LDWF-LED started accounting for litter enforcement patrols as a specific reporting category, wildlife agents have logged nearly 6,900 patrol hours in this area.
In 2006 and 2007, Keep Louisiana Beautiful lent its support to the LDWF-LED by awarding the department two $15,000 grants to fund overtime hours for wildlife agents on litter enforcement patrols. The first grant supported patrols in Region VII (in southeastern Louisiana) during a five-month period in 2006. The second grant helped fund patrols in Region III (in central Louisiana) during a three-month span in 2007. The number of littering citations rose markedly in these regions during the grant periods, demonstrating the success of LDWF-LED in pursing litterers when it possesses the necessary resources.
LDWF-LED Col. Winton Vidrine reminds the public, "Not only is littering ugly and harmful to our environment, it is also against the law. Wildlife and Fisheries agents will continue to take a strong stance against littering."
To report littering or illegal dumping, citizens can call the state anti-littering hotline at 1-888-LIT-R-BUG (1-888-548-7284).
For more information, contact Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne at 225-765-2987 or firstname.lastname@example.org.