TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - When the University of Arizona students leave after spring semester, they leave behind an array of mattresses, couches, chairs and lots of furniture.
Many times, not always, but many times those things are tossed in alleyways or for the most brazen, are left curbside. It is unlawful dumping but there’s not much chance in bringing the students to justice.
“Enforcement exists,” said Pat Tapia, the deputy director of Environmental Services in Tucson. “Unfortunately we don’t know just by looking at a sofa where it came from.”
The sofa could have come from anywhere and been dropped by just about anybody.
“We don’t know if it was the resident or if somebody just came by and dropped it off,” Tapia said.
“It’s not anything new,” said Dan Dorsey, who has lived in the Sugar Hill neighborhood for 26 years. “That’s not unusual in any of the neighborhoods, especially around the university.”
He laments that the problem has become worse with the construction of several mini-dorms in his neighborhood and he blames the renters for the increase.
In the 2010 census, about half the homes were rentals, the other half homeowners.
But all that has changed.
“By 2020, you’ll see a shift towards rentals,” he said. “Two thirds rentals and one third homeowners.”
Tapia agrees the rentals have become an issue for his department and part of the problem lies with the increase in university students.
“You have a lot more rentals around the area,” he said. “Where you have heavy rentals, you have more illegal dumping.”
The department also added about a half dozen roll-offs, or large disposal units, in the university area hoping for more voluntary compliance.
So far, only one has been filled, while the alleyways and streets are littered with throw away’s.
The roll-offs will be towed out of the area but anything left on the ground will be left for another collection unit.
Tapia said the best way for people to get rid of the garbage is to call 791-3171 during normal business hours from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
He says most of it should be picked up within 48 hours.