Bobby Ardoin, Editor/Consulting Writer
One St. Landry Parish resident is seeking to determine who is responsible for reducing the amount of trash that he feels is chronically plaguing roadways, especially in the Opelousas area.
“I want to know who is accountable for picking up all this trash,” David Beaugh said during a Parish Council meeting Wednesday night.
Beaugh added that the amount of parish-wide bulky waste such as discarded mattresses, furniture and appliances are roadside eyesores that could eventually deter the establishment of businesses in the Opelousas area.
However, smaller discarded items such as paper and plastic wrappers are additional eyesores that frequently accumulate on roadsides, Beaugh said.
“You can drive by Joe’s Sandwich Shop” (in Opelousas) and it’s ridiculous to see all the trash that piles up there. People are investing money to buy land in this parish, but we still have a trash problem,” Beaugh said.
“Is there anyone accountable for trash in any (Council) district?” asked Beaugh.
Council members provided Beaugh with a list of various agencies that assist with reducing trash accumulation.
Parish president Jessie Bellard said the parish has installed cameras in areas where rural trash is habitually being dumped. The parish also has an ordinance which fines individuals who are convicted of violating trash dumping, Bellard noted.
“Maybe we should look at this ordinance to put more teeth into it,” said Bellard.
Bellard added that the Solid Waste Commission has a grappler truck which assists with larger trash collection.
The Commission, Bellard said, also pays for the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Department to utilize inmate road crews who are dispatched to handle roadside collections.
Bellard added that a litter abatement program operated by the Sheriff is limited in scope due to the availability of deputies.
“There is no one in the parish that just goes out and hand picks trash. The trustees from the Sheriff are all we have,” Bellard told the Council.
Council members Nancy Carriere and Mildred Thierry said the Solid Waste Commission usually responds when contacted by them about trash such as mattresses and appliances and other material that litters roadsides.
Carriere said that the best solution is for individuals to become more vigilant about trash reduction.
“This is a matter that takes all of us to solve. Each of us is responsible for our neighborhoods. It does take a village. When I see it, I call it in,” said Carriere.