Houston City Councilman says abandoned shopping carts add to area's flooding issues

By Bill Spencer - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Look around, and they are everywhere in Houston!

We see people pushing them down the street. We find them tied with rope to bus stops and street signs. They can become a move-able storage room for the homeless. They are simply taken and never returned.

We are talking about stolen shopping carts, taken from local retail stores and left almost anywhere.

According to Houston City Councilman, Mike Laster, of District J on the southwest side, the biggest problem with these carts is the fact that they often wind up tangled together at the bottom of drainage canals.

Crushed together, they catch all kinds of solid debris and trash, and effectively form what could be called giant dams, blocking water flow.

“Basically these carts become a dam in the waterways, and there they collect other trash and debris and whatever, and that heightens the problem we have with flooding in the area,” Laster says.

Laster, who represents a densely populated area with 180,000 people, has helped pass a budget amendment that calls for the city to create a program to collect these abandoned carts and get them off the streets for good.

“We would have the city’s solid waste department on an ongoing basis regularly collect these carts for potential resale to stores, or to be recycled and eliminate the problem,” Laster says.

If you would like to report an area within Houston’s District J where there is a large abandoned cart problem, you can email the councilman at districtj@houstontx.gov.

Those carts will not be picked up at this point, but at least officials will have a record of where the biggest problems lie.

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2