Broome assembles key leaders to discuss litter in Baton Rouge

Mayor Sharon Weston Broome was hosting a meeting at 2 p.m. today with key stakeholders from Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and other groups to discuss the administration’s plans to combat a growing litter problem around Baton Rouge.

Broome’s spokesman, Mark Armstrong, would not discuss details of the meeting or what the mayor’s plans entail.

Others with knowledge of the meeting, however, say various city and state officials have been talking about the problem for months and that Broome will unveil a series of formal measures soon.

Edwards’ spokesperson Shauna Sanford confirms the governor’s chief of staff, Mark Cooper, will attend the meeting. Sanford says Cooper reached out to city-parish officials last year to discuss the problem and was made aware that the administration was formulating a plan.

“We want to find out what the governor’s office can do to help out, not just in Baton Rouge but whatever they do here may be used throughout the state,” Sanford says. “We’re also interested in what can be done with litter along the interstate and how that can be cleaned up.”

DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson was planning to join the meeting remotely to discuss solutions to litter along the state’s interstate system.

BRAF got involved with the multifaceted issue last summer when it convened a meeting of stakeholders to address cleanup of the Capitol Lakes downtown. Since then, the state has purchased and installed several boons to catch litter at the outfall of the canals that drain into the lake. The Louisiana Department of Corrections has agreed to provide trustees to periodically clean out the boons.

As detailed in a new Business Report cover story, the litter problem around Baton Rouge has many causes, has been growing for years and is polluting the Capital Region’s watersheds.