Marie Constantin: Capturing litter could also reduce flooding

    In a new guest opinion piece, Baton Rouge photographer Marie Constantin writes about how, when Florida officials implemented litter-catching devices in their waterways, they also saw less flooding. 

    Over the past year, Constantin single-handedly launched a citizen campaign to clean up the litter that flows from drainage canals into Baton Rouge-area creeks, bayous and beyond. 

    The litter is not a new problem in Baton Rouge, but it has been worsening. Trash flows from Baton Rouge’s creeks and bayous, gathering in low-lying areas. Since 2008, Baton Rouge has been cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and a few months ago city officials created a litter committee to look at the problem. 

    Constantin writes about how programs that were launched when the Florida Stormwater Association was founded 30 years ago to deal with new Clean Water Act regulations have helped prevent flooding by keeping litter from blocking waterways.  

    More than 30 years ago, the city of Miami unintentionally did what Baton Rouge needs to do today: Fund a program that prevents flooding and at the same time intercepts the floatables that impair a watershed and make it embarrassing to live here, Constantin writes. 

    It makes you wonder what the 2016 flood would have looked like had we done what they did decades ago. Read Constantin’s full column here.   

    To see a video of Baton Rouge’s Ward Creek overflowing and dumping trash into the low-lying wetlands at the LSU Burden Gardens, click here