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Campaign Targets Dog Waste as Source of Bacterial Pollution

Dog waste photoMDEThe Maryland Department of the Environment has launched a campaign to remind dog owners to “scoop the poop every stinkin’ time.”

It may sound trivial.  But cleaning up pet waste is actually very important to keep bacteria and pollutants out of streams in urban and suburban areas not only in Maryland, but across the region.  

"Dog waste accounts for 24 percent of the bacteria that pollutes our urban and suburban waterways,” MDE Secretary Dr. Robert Summers said on his agency’s website. “MDE is committed to improving water quality and reclaiming the Chesapeake Bay. Dog owners can help us keep our waterways clean and safe for recreation by picking up after their pets 100 percent of the time."

Kids often play in streams that have high levels of bacteria from dog waste, and they can get sick if they let the water in their mouths or if they fail to wash their hands afterwards.

To “help stop pointless poo-llution!” (MDE’s word choice, not mine!) and take a “Scoop the Poop” online pledge, click here.  Perhaps you might know some neighbors or friends who would like to make the pledge, too.

You can even add a picture of your dog to an online gallery of pups that are covered by the "Scoop the Poop" pledge.

In Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and allies a few years ago launched a similar education campaign for pet owners.  This outreach, which proved successful, targeted the Upham Brook watershed in Northside Richmond and Henrico County.  To learn more, click here.

By Tom Pelton

Chesapeake Bay Foundation




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I just read where dog waste was reduced 92% in the Lake Tahoe area ( since the installation of dog poop bag dispensers. There's no reason every municipality can't achieve that kind of success. Of course, it did take them 9 years of nagging to do that.

You're right, Timothy -- this is actually a simple problem to solve. Provide bags for people, along with trash cans in which they can deposit them, and plenty of nagging.

I always say; "If you think dog waste smells and looks unappealing, then imagine drinking it." I didn't know the percentage of pollutant that dog waste contributed to our water, that's good to know, Thanks!

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