It’s Everybody’s Business
Pet waste is not something people typically think of as pollution, but unscooped waste is washed by rain into our rivers, lakes, and streams. Not to mention that it is toxic to your lawn, causing burns and discoloring!
Pet waste contributes nitrogen, phosphorus, parasites, and fecal bacteria to water bodies when it is not disposed of properly.
The pollution from dog waste promotes the growth of aquatic weeds and algae, which can result in a harmful environment for fish and other aquatic life. The high level of nitrogen in the waste can damage plants on land as well, plus the bacteria and parasites in the fecal waste can also be harmful to people and other animals.
Here are a few tips you can use to keep your pet from polluting our water:
- Walk your dog in grassy areas, parks or undeveloped areas, not near stream, pond and lake banks.
- Scoop the poop. Take a plastic bag with you on your walk and place the bag in the trash.
- You can also flush pet waste down the toilet, if you are on public sewer and the waste is not mixed with other materials (dirt, grass, leaves, etc.). Do NOT flush kitty litter.
- You can bury pet waste in your yard, at least six inches deep, away from waterways and gardens.
- Don’t put pet waste in the compost pile. While animal manures can make useful fertilizer, parasites carried in dog and cat feces can cause diseases in humans and should not be incorporated into compost piles.
The problem of pet waste pollution is not unique to the Upstate. According to the American Pet Products Association 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey, there are approximately 78.2 million owned dogs in the US. Compared to the current resident population of almost 313 million in our country, that’s the equivalent of one dog for every four individuals.
Greenville County has more than 450,000 residents, so you do the math. That’s a lot of dogs that make a lot of pet waste!