BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)– The East Baton Rouge city-parish is cracking down on illegal dumping and trash.

A new task force was created to make changes from the inside out and pave the way toward a brighter Baton Rouge.

Local leaders say littering has become such a problem that it’s impacting people’s daily lives as well as the ecosystem. This is why they’re taking steps to ensure trash is consistently picked up across the Parish.

Angela White, the president of the Greater Baton Rouge Civic Associations board member & Southern Heights Property Owners Association said, “It is, number one, annoying to have to pick up behind people every day, all the time, and… it looks bad.”

White expressed her frustration about the overabundance of trash and blight, saying, “It starts to be a deterrent to the community. So, we need to make certain that rental housing is maintained, the building code, and what things are needed to help homeowners sustain them.”

The city-parish said this year it has already removed 900 tons of debris and 14,000 bags of litter from roadways. Now, officials are creating a new 19-member parish-based task force to address littering.

“The purpose of this initiative is to decrease litter and illegal dumping in East Baton Rouge Parish,” Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said. “We will focus on education, policy and community involvement.”

BREC Assistant Director of Natural Resource Management Amanda Takacs was assigned to this group, alongside 19 other community leaders from various parts of the parish.

“This is the first time we’ve sat down and communicated as a team to say, ‘Well, we have resources that we could help with that or let’s get the judge involved,’ so he can actually change policy,” Takacs said.

BREC is one of the largest landowners in the area and reports that its workers find trash littering BREC parks on a daily basis.

“Not only does it impact someone’s experience in a park, when they experience litter and trash, it also impacts the habitat and the ecosystem,” she said.

“We forget that our storm drains can get clogged, cause backups of water, and then now your homes are flooded,” said White.

In addition to the launch of the new task force, officials have also created a website featuring a calendar that displays cleanup events as well as a library that allows residents to borrow tools for their cleanup projects.

“Government cannot do this work alone. These challenges require the commitment, collaboration, and coordinated effort of residents and leaders from every facet of the community,” Mayor Broome said.

Click here if you’d like to support your community in cleanup efforts.