In Lafayette, litterbugs are now more likely to face consequences for their actions. LCG established an official litter reporting system.
This campaign, called Operation Neaux Throw, is an initiative from LCG to reduce litter by encouraging people to report when they see trash on the ground and when they see someone littering.
"They can either dial 311 or go on the 311 portal on the Lafayette government website and either report litter if they see it on the ground and it will get picked up. It will get assigned and someone will pick the litter up along the roadside," explains Environmental Quality Manager Beth Foret. "If they actually see someone littering, it will be an opportunity for them to report that as well."
LCG says callers should be as detailed as possible for the program to be effective. When reporting a litterbug on the road, include the make, model, and color of the litterer's vehicle, the license plate number, the time and exact location of the event. If it's safe, take a photo or video of the act as well.
The reason you'll need all this proof is that litterbugs can be taken to court, fined, and sentenced to community service.
"There are consequences. This is not a victimless crime. One piece of litter ends up going down a storm drain, getting into our waterways. All of that affects drainage and wildlife, water quality—so many things. Litter does not stay where you put it for sure. It blows away because of rainfall and it goes and it gathers up and it really is an expensive, unsightly problem for Lafayette," says Foret.
Reporting a litterbug is not anonymous. Even if you're not willing to sign an affidavit, you will have to give your name and contact information, and if you'd really like to see a litterbug punished you may have to show up in court.
An assistant city-parish attorney told KATC, whether or not the litterer will be fined will depend on how much evidence there really is and if a witness will come forward.