Parish tackles uphill battle against litter

Keep Tangipahoa Beautiful and Osprey Initiative recently sponsored a litter cleanup in the Manchac area to tackle a place that continues to be treated like a dumping site.

Eight volunteers, including Councilwomen Kim Coates and Brigette Delatte Hyde, picked up 135 bags of trash, a commode and a motor on the low road.

“Overall it was a wonderful, wonderful day,” said Ginger Tastet, executive director of Keep Tangipahoa Beautiful. “It’s just that we’re still battling down there with the tires. They think it’s a dumping place, but it’s really not.”

People continue to throw things out of car windows and dump tires while the parish is trying to keep the area clean, she said.

“Overall, it’s not as bad as it used to be, but it’s still bad,” she said.

On the low road, volunteers picked up eight gallons of used oil and properly disposed of it.

They also cleaned a nearby canal on Highway 51 where litter had clogged the drains.

“It brings the litter and deposits that litter in one spot and has been for years,” Councilwoman Kim Coates said. “I’ve tried to tackle it myself, but it was just pretty overwhelming.”

Coates said she cleaned nine bags of litter by herself last year without putting a dent in it.

Don Bates, a Tangipahoa Parish native and owner of Osprey Initiative, brought workers to help completely eradicate all the litter in that area as part of the company’s GiveFive initiative. Osprey Initiative created the LitterGitters that are collecting debris from a few waterways around the parish.

“We had over four boat loads of debris and litter,” Coates said, adding that litter was then separated to recycle the plastics, glass and bottles.

Coates said she got chills and almost cried when seeing it clean. Previously, it was impossible to take even one step without stepping on litter.

Keeping Tangipahoa Parish’s waterways and surrounding areas clean is an ongoing effort.

Bates’ team is tracking which areas have been picked up. The parish will be able to revisit to locate hot spots for litter, she said.

“Yes, it’s a lot of litter, but we’ve done a good job over the past three years,” she said. “In 2018, first we picked up 11 tons of litter and debris, so now we’re doing better to manage and not let it accumulate like it was.”

This story originally appeared in The Daily Star by Raley Pellittieri. You can view the original story here.

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The patented Litter Gitter is a tactical in-stream litter collection device used to intercept floating litter from stormwater runoff. The Osprey team handles all aspects of installing and maintaining these “trash traps” and compiles data on the items caught in them, recycling as much of the litter as possible.