Environmental hazard in not scooping dog poo

Littered dog waste is not just a nuisance but also an environmental hazard.
LUZ ZUNIGA/ STUFF

Littered dog waste is not just a nuisance but also an environmental hazard.

Public areas are being littered with doggy doo and it's not just frustrating Nelson locals - it's also impacting the environment. 

While most dog owners are scooping the poop, some are turning a blind eye to their pooch defecating on walkways, parks and beaches.

There are 5500 dogs registered in Nelson with an average dog producing about 125kg of waste a year.

Dog faeces left in a public place is not only unsightly and smelly, it's a health hazard for waterways.

Nelson City Council Strategy and Environment group manager Clare Barton said dog waste left on hard surfaces was washed straight in to the stormwater system and into rivers and Tasman Bay.

"Even dog poo left on grass is harmful as E.coli bacteria will wash through the soil into the river."

Project Maitai, a four-year council initiative focused on the environmental health of the Maitai River and all its tributaries has been looking at ways to educate people about the impact of dog poo on our rivers.

Barton said some of the main problem areas where owners were leaving a mess included the Centre of New Zealand and Maitai Valley.

It's not just some Nelson dog owners who are taking a lax approach to bagging the poo, Tasman areas are also being marred.

Facebook Nelson Dog Owners group co-ordinator Margaret Cotton said there was the group who "try really hard to pick up their dog poos then you've got the group that doesn't".

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She said people needed to think about the message, "keep New Zealand beautiful".

Mapua Neighbourly member Cheryl Keen said dog poo was a "huge issue" in Mapua, especially around the school.

"Most days there is fresh dog poo on the path leading up to school."

She said the council had done a "great job" providing dog owners "with the best chance of keeping Mapua dog poo free".  

"There is a doggie bag collections place right at the start of this track.  There are many days where there is dog poo within 20 metres of this dog bag box."

The Tasman District Council and the Nelson City Council both have an instant $300 fine for failing to pick it up.

Barton said the council put bag dispensers and bins in the most commonly used areas to encourage and help people to do the right thing, "but ultimately it is up to the dog owner to make sure they remove their dog's poo and dispose of it properly".

Facts

A single gram of pet waste, the size of a pea, contains 23 million faecal coliform bacteria

* Bacteria from dog faeces are washed into the river during rain or flood events

* Research has shown that dog faeces are one of the major contributors to Escherichia coli found in the Maitai River.

 

 - Stuff

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