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Much to do About Poo

Clean_up1You don't need to have stepped in dog poop to know that it is not a pleasant experience. I don't know how many pairs of shoes I've refused to wear since I have stepped in dog poop while wearing them. Aside from the visually displeasing and stinky quality of exposed dog feces in public areas, the feces can pose environmental and health risks to all who come into contact with the waste.

As a dog owner, you are in charge of taking care of your pooch's bathroom needs, which includes responsibly disposing of your dog's excrements.

Exposed feces end up in our waterways as runoff. The feces contain fecal coliforms, which have been observed to contain the dangerous bacteria E. coli, and indicate the presence of fecal contamination, which is harmful to the environment in that it can cause serious gastrointestinal illness or death to those who drink the contaminated water. The U.S. Environment Protection Agency has created the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), which is a pollution management budget. Communities that violate TMDL may be penalized.

Not only are dog feces environmental risks but they are also health risks to your dog. We all know that dogs are often guided by their noses and unfortunately, their nose don't always lead them to the nicest smelling patch of grass. Exposed feces mean your dog is exposed to diseases and parasites such as roundworms, parvovirus, tapeworms and Giardiasis, among others. Wouldn't it be nice to not have to worry about what your dog gets his or her nose in?

It's important to make sure that the poop isn't exposed even in the trashcan because it can pose a risk to the health of the garbage collector. Instead, always make sure to double bag the poop. You may reuse the plastic bags that hold your groceries or the plastic sleeves that your newspapers come in. Pooper-scoopers are convenient modes of transportation for your dog poop in that they do the scooping for you and you won't have to bend to pick up the poop. You may walk with the poop in the pooper-scooper until you are able to properly dispose of it.

Of course, we all know that plastic is bad for the environment since it takes a long time to decompose. A plastic bag full of poop often sits in landfills for long periods of time, which breeds bacteria and disease. One alternative is to use biodegradable bags, which allow for easier breakdown. Another solution is to install an underground pet waste digester in your backyard. These devices work as septic tanks and decompose or mineralize the waste dumped in. Lastly, and most environmentally friendly, you can establish a worm farm compost. The worms ingest the poop and remove the odor. Their "poop" is a nutrient-rich fertilizer. Since it's a compost, you can also put in kitchen scraps and lawn clippings.

I hope this article has brought to light the importance of picking up after your dog on a consistent basis. Exposed poop has more of an impact that you think. Be a responsible member of society and always scoop!

Written by Vivian Wang

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