LAFAYETTE — The Evangeline Area Council Boy Scouts of America collected about 44,000 pounds of litter from the Atchafalaya Basin on Saturday, reported a council representative Tuesday.
The massive clean-up effort involved nearly 200 Boy Scouts and other volunteers as part of the Second Annual Atchafalaya Basin Sweep.
A combined total of about 89,000 pounds has been collected in the two “sweep” events, said Ben Pierce, the council’s Atchafalaya Basin Program Coordinator.
This year’s event targeted 20 sites, including a stretch along an Interstate 10 underpass that had not been cleaned in about 38 years, Pierce said.
Pierce said this year’s event included a total of 250 volunteers: 190 Boy Scouts and their families, St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Resource Management of Baton Rouge and Alexandria, Atchafalaya Basin Festival queens, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, and neighboring landowners.
The volunteer time equated to 1,075 service hours — or 134 work days — to improve the Basin and raise awareness about the litter problem affecting the area, Pierce said. The council directed a $5,000 grant from Keep Louisiana Beautiful toward the event.
Last year, the council committed to service projects within the Basin.
“We’ve planted 15,000 native trees in the Basin in the last year and a half,” Pierce said.
Plans also include the development of primitive camp sites and hiking and paddling trails.