We all know that unscooped poop is annoying, but did you know that it is also a huge environmental hazard? In communities throughout the nation, dog waste is seeping into water supplies and contaminating everything in its wake.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average dog discards approximately ¾ pounds of waste each day, which adds up to nearly 275 pounds of waste per dog annually. Responsible pet parents bag up the waste and toss it out, but unfortunately, not everybody takes the time. “Dog waste is a major overlooked environmental pollutant, and it’s also a health hazard” says Jacob D’Aniello, the founder of pet waste management company DoodyCalls. “Unlike other common residential pollutants such as fertilizer and rinse water from driveways, dog waste often carries bacteria and parasites that can harm the health of your family and pets.”
D’Aniello knows that every scoop makes a difference, which is why he’s launched The Doody-Free Water Project––a nationwide movement for pet waste pickup. With the initiative, D’Aniello hopes to raise awareness about the impact dog waste has on the environment and expand public access to poop pickup bags. The first step: Donating 250,000 poop bags to local dog parks and greenways.
Why focus on water?
From an environmental perspective, unscooped dog poop has the biggest impact on our waterways. In areas with large dog populations, pathogens from dog poop account for much of the pollutants in stormwater runoff.
Consider these facts:
- Dog waste is an environmental pollutant. In 1991, it was labeled a non-point source pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency, placing it in the same category as herbicides and insecticides; oil, grease and toxic chemicals; and acid drainage from abandoned mines.
- According to the EPA, two or three days worth of droppings from a population of about 100 dogs can potentially contribute enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay and all watershed areas within 20 miles to swimming and shell fishing.
- Unlike other common residential pollutants such as fertilizer and rinse water from driveways, dog waste often contains bacteria and parasites that can harm the health of your family and pets. These pathogens include: Ringworm, roundworm, salmonella, giardia and E. coli.
- Many of the pathogens commonly found in dog waste can survive in water. Roundworm, for example, is one of the most common parasites found in dog waste and it can remain infectious in contaminated soil and water for years.
- When enough waste enters local waterways, plant and animal life can start to falter. This is in part because dog poop adds nitrogen and phosphorus to the water, which – in high enough concentrations – depletes oxygen levels necessary to sustain plant life, fish and other wildlife.
How The Doody-Free Water Project works
Though The Doody-Free Water Project is still in its early stages, D’Aniello is hoping to make a big impact right out of the gate by putting more poop bags in more pet parents hands. Concerned community members will have until May 15 to nominate a dog park or greenway they think is in need of bags––locations will be selected based on several factors, including the dog park or greenway’s proximity to local waterways, public accessibility, estimated bag usage and expressed need.
Click here to nominate an area you think could benefit.
For more information, visit DoodyFreeWater.org