Making a difference

Volunteers keep St. Charles beautiful

It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

Environmentally-conscious volunteers and school groups will hit the streets of St. Charles Parish in an attempt to clean up litter from their communities. The event, which is called the “Trash Bash,” will take place on Saturday, March 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“The event is important not only because it helps us beautify the parish, but also because it’s such an educational event,” said Renee Simpson, public information officer for the parish. “It shows people the consequences of littering.”

Last year, 320 volunteers took part in the bash, and filled 391 bags with roadside litter that totaled nearly 8,000 pounds. The volunteers, who spread out near their homes, covered more than 69 miles of roadway in every community in the parish.

This year, 125 residents have signed up to take part in the event, and they will be assisted by several school groups. Those interested may still sign up as team captains or individuals at or by calling (985)783-5182.

“Last year was the first year we had the Trash Bash, so there was a really big push,” Simpson said. “It’s getting to be routine for people now, so the interest isn’t as high as it was when we started. But people are still signing up and they want to help clean up their communities.”

The program works by getting volunteers together based on where they live. Once a group is gathered, they target specific litter hot spots in their communities. All equipment, such as pick-up sticks, gloves, trash bags and water, are provided by the parish.

A culminating celebration will kick-off at 11:30 a.m. at the West Bank Bridge Park in Luling. The entire community, including volunteers, is invited to enjoy free food and information about local recycling and environmental preservation efforts.

Booths at the event will feature the Wetland Watchers, who will have swamp animals on display, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin District and River Birch Landfill.

“River Birch is going to show people what happens to their garbage once it leaves their homes,” Simpson said.

Awards, a first this year, will be given to business and non-profit teams that provide the most volunteers and collect the most trash.

Previous volunteers are asked to re-wear their Trash Bash T-shirts if possible.

Last year, the litter was so bad that residents found several items that couldn’t be bagged. These included car and truck tires, car panels, toilets, bikes, hub caps, grocery carts, televisions and metal pipes.

Roadside cigarette butts were a huge problem as well, according to Simpson.


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