Friday, February 11, 2011

Pet Waste Is Marine Debris, Too

Last night we had a Winter Social in Portsmouth, NH where we revealed a 1-minute video public service announcement titled, "Beach Karma" (will be posted here soon!) - a video about the importance of picking up after your pet.

As a conservation organization, we got started on beach cleanups because we wanted to remove harmful debris from the beach.  We were thinking mostly of the potential impacts of marine debris such as lost rope, fishing line, balloons, straws, bags, etc., that can entangle or choke wildlife.

Then, a few winters ago, we found ourselves dodging dog piles every few feet at one of our cleanups, and wanted to do something about dog waste.  Why is dog waste bad?

Pet waste: 

  • May carry diseases that are transmittable to humans
  • Contains bacteria that can wash directly into the ocean after a snow or rainstorm.
If you leave your dog's waste on the beach, bacteria can wash into the ocean, and if enough gets into the ocean, the beach (and other areas, such as clamming flats) may be closed.  Put simply, dogs are good, but stuff in dog poop is bad. You can help by picking up after your pet, wherever you are!

If you are concerned about the issue of pet waste, check out Blue Ocean Society's SCOOP (Seacoast Canine Owner's Outreach Program)  here.  As part of the project, we're doing outreach to pet owners, but also tracking dog waste on the beaches (using data cards at our regular beach cleanups) so that we can see if our education efforts are making a difference.

Artwork originally designed by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality/Funded in part by U.S. EPA 319 Program

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