Post by Joanna on Aug 21, 2018 13:26:29 GMT -5
Dog Waste Is Destroying the Environment
Whether you live in a crowded city or small rural town, no one likes having to dodge the waste left behind by people’s dogs. While many areas in the U.S. attempt to crack down on the littering aspect of not cleaning up after dogs, studies are also finding that dog excrement is becoming a major environmental hazard.
Pet dogs in the United States produce more than 10 million tons of feces each year and many owners aren’t picking up after their animals. A 2014 report by Live Science revealed that 40 percent of Americans surveyed did not clean up after their dogs. There are an estimated 90 million dogs in the U.S., which means 36 million dogs are emptying their bowels on a daily basis and their waste is destroying grass, other plants, and then washing into and contaminating bodies of water. Most who admitted not picking up after their dogs claimed it was “too much work,” wasn’t necessary because their dog was small, or their pet did it “in the woods.”
Regardless of the size of the dog or where the waste is deposited, environmental advocates cite the fact that dog excrement is full of harmful bacteria and parasites. “A single gram of pet waste contains an average of 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, some of which can cause disease in humans,” the Georgia-based Clean Water Campaign notes. And according to DoodyCalls, pet waste is one of the biggest carriers of salmonella, giardia and various types of worms. “When infected dog poop is deposited on your lawn, the eggs of certain roundworms and other parasites can linger in your soil for years,” the pet waste management group explains.
Even in urban areas, un-bagged waste still has a major effect on the environment via local waterways. “Storm runoff almost always enters rivers, lakes, streams or the ocean without being treated,” according to a report from Outside magazine.
A common epidemic in many lake and pond communities is the issue of residents who leave their dog’s waste on the ground. Because of their diet, the excrement of dogs does not break down like that of wild animals and it accumulates quickly. When it rains, the waste washes into the water, polluting it, causing algae growth and killing marine life. Humans who come into contact with the water, even from wading in it, comes into contact with numerous harmful bacteria, including E. coli, as well as parasitic worms and cryptosporidium. Cyanobacteria, commonly called blue-green algae, are a growing concern in bodies of water where there are a lot of dog-owners. The toxic algae renders the water unfit for drinking, unsafe for swimming and other recreational activities and kills fish, frogs, turtles and anything else that comes into contact with the poisonous blooms.
Sources: CBS Philly, April 10, 2018, and Derek Johnson, Certified Lake Manager and Fisheries & Wildlife Scientist, SOLitude Lake Management, December 6, 2016.