Trash on side of road
Local News

Public Officials Speak Out Against Parish Littering and Dumping

Photo by FREDDIE HERPIN, Photographer

Contributing Writer

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a rural road or a street inside an incorporated area.

Illegal trash disposal and littering two St. Landry Parish elected officials agree have become issues whose prevalence is stretching the limits of their manpower and patience.

“It’s just unbelievable what is happening right now. What is going on with people disposing of items out in the open is beyond control,” says parish president Jessie Bellard.

In addition to Bellard Opelousas Mayor Julius Alsandor has spoken to the Board of Aldermen about trash placed in residential wastewater, causing city sewer lines to become damaged and clogged.

Bellard has purchased a $4,000 solar-powered camera that he intends to move around areas of the parish that have been located in places of contention when it comes to illegal dumping.

Parish government Bellard says, has a long-standing enforcement ordinance which fines persons accused of illegally disposing of materials.

Normally the Sheriff’s Department has been controlling litter abatement parish wide, but Bellard said manpower shortages have caused a cutback in the number of trusty road crews that are normally assigned to dispose of roadside litter.

Additional enforcement support has begun with other elected officials, Bellard points out.

“What we are doing to take care of that is get our constables to help us enforce the litter laws. I’ve also met with the District Attorney Chad Pitre and he is committed to prosecuting offenders. We need to start holding people accountable is they are going to break the law,” Bellard says.

The most frequent offenders of current illegal disposal Bellard maintains are residential and commercial construction workers.

Bellard recalls that his staff has discovered evidence of building materials such as sheetrock and other building materials dumped alongside roads or roadways.

“We have discovered this happening on Chris Road, Sumner Road, Dupre Road and Credeur Road,” Bellard explains.

However Bellard also points to a large amount of tires that are found along roads as another source of dumping.

“A lot of this I suspect comes from all the tire places that we have now. I know that for a fact, since we are finding tires that have the white markings where problems with bad tires have been identified. People are paying the disposal fees to get rid of used tires and instead of tire places doing it the right way, we are finding them now on the roads,” says Bellard.

The problem Bellard claims is not only providing enough enforcement.

“It’s really not just an enforcement problem. It’s a people problem. People have no respect anymore for anybody or anything. The dumping is happening mainly on these backroads in our parish where people can go in the middle of the night,” Bellard says.

The Opelousas Problem

Alsandor has complained about trash being wantonly dumped in Opelousas for almost two years.

In order to create public awareness Alsandor has made two videos which show trash that has been thrown in ditches, or backed up inside city sewer lines, causing the city to spend time and manpower in order to free debris.

Alsandor recalls seeing garbage fall from a truck recently and spill onto a street intersecting Church and Main.

“The bag fell out of the truck and the truck just kept on going,” Alsandor adds.

Alsandor mentions that he was headed to a function when he saw litter and he stopped his vehicle and helped remove it from the roadway.

“What is happening with this trash problem is just unacceptable. We have to do better,” Alsandor says.