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Shreveport agency recruits nearly 1,200 volunteers for litter removal

Shreveport Green

Scores of volunteers will take to the streets and waterways Saturday to pick up litter as part of the Great American Cleanup.

In Louisiana, 15 chapters of Keep Louisiana Beautiful have organized clean-up efforts. Shreveport Green executive director Donna Curtis says her organization has rallied nearly 1,200 volunteers from dozens of organizations to help the beautification cause, her largest ever one-day volunteer recruitment.

Over the past 24 years of Shreveport Green’s existence, according to Curtis, this one day has made a measurable difference.

“We’ve reduced litter, by count, about 80 percent. Now, we may need to set up a new baseline. But, we know every year we are doing this litter index, we’re a little bit lower. We’re not making a big change,” Curtis said.

The litter that gets chucked from car windows plagues Shreveport’s neighborhoods and major thoroughfares, according to Curtis. She also points to careless homeowners who improperly set out garbage containers that ultimately tip over and spew trash down the street. Organized clean-ups and education efforts have helped over the years. But now, Curtis hopes stricter solid waste ordinances and state laws will improve Shreveport streetscapes.

“It needs to become part of our culture. We have been very  loose in what we accept. The city resources have been stretched enormously through the years to keep it clean. We have over-accommodated the citizens,” Curtis said.

Elected officials from Shreveport-Bossier and state lawmakers will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Friday at RiverView Park in downtown Shreveport to rally the cause and support volunteer efforts.

The Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup involves 4 million volunteers nationwide who will work together tomorrow to beautify their communities.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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