Mayor to litterbugs: Trash Jackson, get embarrassed

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 2:23 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - City leaders are launching a new campaign to curb litter, one that will include stepped-up enforcement and the possible closure of streets that have become dump sites.

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba announced the new program, dubbed “Stop Trashing Jackson,” which will begin with a cleanup campaign on March 4.

“We are coming forward with a robust plan across several departments and also working with some of our external partners, such as Keep Jackson Beautiful, in order to tackle this issue head-on,” he said. “I want to be clear: we are ready to deploy every resource that we have toward this.”

Lumumba said the program is designed not only to eliminate “large swaths of litter,” but to change the culture in the city.

“This is a problem that rests deep within our neighborhoods, deep within the businesses within our communities, deep within our church community,” he said. “And so, as my mother would say, if you don’t show love or if you don’t respect your home, no one else will.”

Lumumba said the campaign will likely include controlled burns at dumping sites and the closure of streets that are being used for illegal dumping.

“If we can’t show respect for our community, then you no longer have the luxury of using it as a shortcut to get around your communities,” he said.

Parks and Recreation is responsible for cleaning most rights-of-way in the city. It’s a never-ending task, according to Parks Director Ison Harris.

“We’ve done some extensive cleaning in the last few weeks only to find the next day and the day after that it backtracks again,” he said.

[Read: Lee planning cleanup day to address illegal dumping on Hilda Drive]

To help keep those areas clean, Lumumba says Jackson is looking at some potential cleanup contracts, as well as improved ways to capture and prosecute litterbugs, such as a database where people can upload pictures of violators.

“We’re looking at how we connect that to immediate prosecution of those individuals through our municipal court system,” Lumumba said. “We’re going to make it clear: we’re going to embarrass you when you litter in our city.”

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