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Mar 19, 2013 9:29 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Tucsonans battle abandoned shopping cart epidemic

TUCSON - It's a battle Tucson has been fighting for the past 8 years and now one southwest neighborhood is saying they've had enough.

We're talking about those unsightly stray shopping carts littering the Old Pueblo. One of the hardest hit neighborhoods is now looking for action.

Rudy Barajas never used to notice a problem with shopping carts in his neighborhood, but now he says it's something he sees everywhere he turns on the southwest side of town.

"When you're running with your dog and it's a half buried shopping cart... And then like where I live at... You just find them off the side of the road there where people just push them out on the street," Barajas told News 4 Tucson while walking his dog.

The problem is something folks living in Midvale Park have to live with every day-counting more than 300 shopping carts that cluttered their neighborhood just last year.

"They're a real hazard... To the wildlife... To the cars passing by... They smash right into them... To the quality of life," said Joe Miller, President of Midvale Park Neighborhood Association.

Miller says abandoned shopping carts have become a real nuisance over the past year, popping up in places all over the city too. They even formed a Facebook page to promote the cause.

Nearly 14,000 carts were returned to Walmart stores in Tucson alone last year, as part of a cart return program. It's that type of service that some believe is the answer.

Anything that gets all retailers united to use some type of a cart service... We think that's basically the best answer," said Tim McCabe, President of the Arizona Food Marketing Alliance.

One thing that many in Midvale Park can agree on: it's up to the city or county.

"The solution really has to come from something bigger than a neighborhood association," Miller said.

The hope is the city steps in to create an ordinance to protect the area from the shopping cart problem.

"[To protect] the quality of life of being proud of your neighborhood... of this is where I live... and this is what it looks like... and its hard to sell the house next door when four shopping carts are in the front yard," Miller said.

The county will partner with the Midvale Neighborhood Association this Saturday as they hit the pavement and return many of the stray shopping carts to where they belong.

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