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Environmental Etiquette: Pick up the Poop

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Environmental Etiquette: Pick up the Poop

Kari Kalway

While there are times that you might miss your pup’s intimate pooping moment, it is best to watch where they decide to go. Not only are you doing your part to keep our parks and sidewalks clean, but you are also helping the environment. Pet waste is NOT a fertilizer. It can even contain diseases like E.coli or roundworms that can be spread to both pets and humans.

So what happens to pet poop that is left on the ground? First of all, it doesn’t stay there. When it rains in the cities, the waste gets transported to the nearest storm drain and then out into our waterways. The water quality in our local streams and lakes can be contaminated by the organisms living in pet waste. This is especially true for urban areas. Kirkland, WA has provided some tips to help keep the city clean since over 20,000 dogs are living in the city limits. Imagine how much poop the dog population of Seattle could make - that would be a lot of waste in the water if we don’t band together to keep our neighborhoods clean.

Dog poop is also a concern in our wild areas. Kora and I love to go hiking and explore the wild side of Washington state. We follow the Leave No Trace policy to ensure that her waste does not negatively affect the natural ecosystem. While wild animals eat the local vegetation and then add value to the area by leaving their waste, pet waste does not have the same benefits. According to the Leave No Trace article, “Across the US, 83 million pet dogs produce 10.6 million tons (that's 21,200,000,000 pounds) of poop every year, each pound adding excess nutrients to the ecosystem if the waste isn't disposed of properly.” That’s a lot of outside influence on the environment.

We encourage you to be environmentally conscious when you pick up the poop!