We commend the Lafayette City-Parish Council on its strengthening of Lafayette’s anti-litter laws. We are surrounded by a beautiful environment that we should not take for granted.

We have a long tradition of cherishing the land and water at the source of our culture. However, there are many in the community who think nothing of throwing all sorts of items out of a car window or even right next to a garbage can.

Given our particular local geography, where flatness is the defining feature, once our often-abundant rains fall, all that trash, from the unholy trinity of Styrofoam cups, plastic bottles and aluminum cans to more incongruous items, go rushing on a wild ride through the ditches and coulees to end up in the slower moving waters of the Vermilion River.

You name it, flat screen TVs, furniture, tires, hot water heaters, our river crews at the Bayou Vermilion District have pulled it out of the water and disposed of it properly.

Since the oil bust of the ’80s, Lafayette has made great strides in creating new avenues of economic development and cementing its reputation as one of the best places to live and work among towns of its size. The Bayou Vermilion District was born out of that difficult time when the oil and gas industry, then practically the only game in town, had a sudden and severe downturn.

The parish leaders looked to the natural and cultural assets of Acadiana, the Vermilion River, then one of the most polluted in the U.S., and the Cajun and Creole culture that was just making its appearance on the national scene and decided to ask the voters to approve a millage that would be devoted to cleaning up the Vermilion and creating Vermilionville.

Today, the millage is dedicated not only to the removal of trash and other items from the water, but also to the maintenance of parks and boat launches along the bayou, the monitoring of the water quality and the restoration of banks and fish habitats.

Were it not for the continued litter problem, we would be able to focus more on our other missions.

Thanks to the efforts of partners like the Bayou Vermilion Preservation Association and Project Front Yard, we are getting across the idea that litter is unacceptable and it diminishes the quality of life we work so hard to achieve. We are coming to the realization that a vibrant culture grounded in authentic traditions and a clean watershed are indispensable factors in growing a vital economy.

BVD looks forward to serving the people of Acadiana in better ways. The steps taken by the city-parish council will go a long way in achieving that goal.

David Cheramie

CEO, Bayou Vermilion District

Lafayette