Our Views: Helping clean La. waterways

We didn’t know whether to cry or smile at the news that 828 volunteers in Louisiana cleaned up 7,800 pounds of trash from beach fronts and waterways in five parishes last fall as part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.

We’re distressed that so much trash litters our lakes and coastlines, but we’re heartened that so many residents volunteered to pick it up.

In Orleans Parish, 321 people volunteered to pick up more than 18 miles of coastline and waterways, collecting 3,200 pounds of trash. In East Baton Rouge Parish, 37 volunteers collected 200 pounds of trash around LSU Lakes. Some inland waterways were part of the Coastal Cleanup because they can eventually impact coastal systems.

The presence of so much trash in and around Louisiana’s beaches and waterways should concern us all. Litter despoils Louisiana’s natural beauty, but it can also cause big problems for wildlife. Ultimately, polluted waterways can affect human health, too.

The next Ocean Conservancy cleanup is Sept. 21, and The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation will also be conducting a cleanup the same day. More information is available at http://www.saveourlake.org/beach-sweep.php and www.oceanconservancy.org.

We’re glad when volunteers step forward to pick up trash, but we look forward to the day when there’s not so much litter to pick up.