BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced that Louisiana State University Litter Institute will address the challenges litter presents to the roadways and waterways in the Bayou State.

The state of Louisiana is located at the mouth of the Mississippi River, which makes the region become the endpoint for litter from almost half of the states in the nation. Louisiana must also deal with marine debris that is forced along our harbors and shores because of storm disturbances in the gulf. When rainfall is intense, the litter and storm debris often cause significant drainage issues across the entire state.

LSU’s Litter Institute will focus on litter abatement projects. International research will be implemented to develop workable solutions to this $15 billion national problem. LSU is already a global leader in research and outreach, including land-grant and sea-grant services; the university can offer best practices in litter abatement for both land and water via statewide partnerships. Student and public engagement is expected.

Governor Edwards said that Louisiana is uniquely positioned to lead in litter abatement because of our geographical location and because of our waterways.

“It is the best place to work toward practical solutions that could have a worldwide impact,” said Edwards.

Edwards said that’s why it’s important the Louisiana Legislature funded the establishment of the LSU Litter Institute with $800,000.

“I am pleased we have reached this important milestone and thankful to everyone dedicated to this cause… It’s a problem that affects all of us, regardless of where we live.”

Edwards believes that it’s up to us to solve the problem and work together to take personal responsibility and keep our state clean.

The state of Louisiana spends more than $90 million a year to clean up litter, but only 10% of that money is spent on litter prevention and education.

Cecile Carspm served on the Governor’s task force and led the statewide litter study.

“Establishing this institute offers the opportunity to address the problem from a multidisciplinary approach while bringing together academic, government, and business research on litter and debris,” said Carson.

There are currently more than 144 million pieces of litter on Louisiana roadways. Beverage containers are responsible for 34% of visible litter. Plastic packaging is another 49%.

“To tackle litter in Louisiana and nationwide, we need to continue to investigate and pool our expertise. Our citizens deserve to live in clean, healthy as well as beautiful communities,” said the executive director of Keep Louisiana Beautiful, Susan Russell.

LSU is already researching the remediation of litter in neighborhoods and watersheds.