Dog Poop Pollution
A nuisance to dog owners and those without dogs alike, waste from dogs litter streets and parks, only increasing with the surge in dog ownership from the pandemic. However, besides just the aesthetic drawbacks, dog feces pose additional human and environmental risks, causing illness, pollution, and antibiotic resistance.
Dog waste may contain disease-causing microorganisms and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, meaning bacterial infections through contact with dog feces may be harder to treat. Additionally, the feces are easily washed into stormwater, contributing significantly to water pollution.
This problem is most prominent in parks where dogs are allowed to be off-leash and in areas close to parking lots. In order to combat this, research has found that keeping dogs on a leash between parking lots and off-leash areas and providing waste disposal stations on dog-walking routes may decrease rates of dog waste found on the streets or in parks.
Research has also found that educating dog walkers is essential. Social messages, such as messages emphasizing good neighbors pick up after their dogs, may be the most effective in changing behavior.