Puget Sound, WA is at it again! Previously, the city found itself in a poopy situation and created a music video to educate the public on excess pet waste. Apparently, the video didn’t produce the expected results, because Puget Sound is taking a different approach to the same situation.
Pet waste is not only stinky and unsightly, but it’s a bacterial pollutant. Just one tiny gram of dog waste contains twice the amount of fecal coliform bacterium, that a similar size human waste sample does. Fecal coliform is a bacterium found in the intestinal tracts of humans and animals. When the bacterium from waste gets deposited into water streams, it can have a harmful effect. While the bacterium alone is pretty harmless, its presence usually is linked to other disease-causing organisms that can be harmful. Drinking contaminated water with bacteria may cause ear infections, dysentery, typhoid fever, viral and bacterial gastroenteritis, and hepatitis A.
Aimee Christy, a research biologist for the Pacific Shellfish Institute, an Olympia-based research arm of the West Coast commercial shellfish industry, reported that, “The average dog generates roughly one-half pound of poop per day, which translates into about 11 tons of untreated waste daily.” Now that’s a load of poop!
The poop problem has led to shellfish harvest closures off and on throughout the Puget Sound region. In an effort to educate the public and keep shell-fish growing areas open, a team of volunteers will kick-off of a new campaign for scooping poop called Scoop to Win.
The campaign will consist of the volunteers visiting 14 parks and neighborhoods in two watersheds, Henderson Inlet and Nisqually Reach. The volunteers will mark piles of poop with red-and-white flags before picking them up and discuss with pet owners the importance of cleaning up after their beloved friend. Aside from the obivious flagging for all to see, it gets better! If the team happens to spot someone cleaning up after their pet, they will be handed out a raffle ticket for a drawing for prizes at the end of October.
On one visit, Christy flagged enough poop to equal 12 pounds – that's bigger than most newborn babies! There's a lot of poop and one surely could get a lot of raffle tickets. The campaign is raffling off t-shirts, gift certificates, dog toys, etc. That's a ton of goodies you could win just by picking up some poo!
Photo courtesy of SoulRider.222