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Nov 7, 2013 8:42 PM by John Patrick

Residents concerned about El Tour de Tucson trash

TUCSON - El Tour de Tucson generates millions of dollars for Tucson's economy but it also generates a lot of trash.

With nearly ten-thousand cyclists converging on the city of Tucson Garbage is bound to be left behind. Some of the residents who live on the route say they are sick of picking up the junk.

William Johnson is one of the residents who has lived along the route almost as long as the El Tour has been around, 31 years. He says it's great what the event does for the economy but not to the desert surrounding his house.

"I love it here but people come and just leave their trash everywhere," explains Johnson.

The day after the race Johnson walks up and down his street collecting the trash that has been left behind. He says he can pick up two trash bags full of everything from energy bar wrappers to water bottles and that's just in the area around his house, the course goes for 111 miles.

Johnson says, "They just toss it to the side like somebody is going to pick it up but nobody ever does. It's me that has to do it."

The Perimeter Bicycling Association of America organizes El Tour de Tucson every year and they are responsible for cleaning up the aid stations along the route. They hire out a company to clean up the 16 stations and the immediate area but that leaves behind a large portion of the course.

Harry Anthros, the route director for El Tour, says the City of Tucson and Pima County are not contracted out to go and pick up everything along the route. So El Tour is trying to get this year's cyclists to use the aid stations to throw away their garbage before they get back on the road.

"The volunteers will fill up their bottle with water, hand them cups of water but there is no riding by and grabbing cups of water, this is not the El Tour de France," explains Anthros.

The 111 mile El Tour de Tucson starts at 7am Saturday November 23 at Armory Park. For a map of the route and location of the aid stations click here.

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