New York’s Potential Dog Poop Problem Will Scare The Crap Out Of You
Ahhhhh, the quiet calm and relaxation of a winter wonderland – there’s nothing quite like it. Snow covering the streets, chimneys working overtime, and you’re wrapped in a blanket engrossed in a good book (or watching cat videos, let’s be truthful here). It’s an idyllic picture… until you have to take the dog out for a bathroom break.
Hey, we here you – it’s a pain to get up from your warm spot, reluctantly put on a bulky coat, dress the dog in his winter gear and go outside into the bitter cold. You impatiently wait for your dog to do his business so you run back to your hot toddy. “Poop be damned,” you say. “I’ll pick it up in the spring.”
But what if you live in an urban area? It’s a lot more public and chances are, you’re living in a high-traffic area. It’s awkward to just leave the poop in the middle of the sidewalk (well, for most of us it would be). Perhaps you’ve reached the point of not caring. If that’s the case, you’ve probably heard something like this from a stranger: “Excuse me, did you forget something behind?” (Pun intended.) You come back with the classic “I forgot the baggie… my bad!” excuse, and make a promise to come back and clean it later. But you know you won’t. Besides, it’s covered up with snow. But the problem is that snow melts. And the aftermath is a minefield of slushy grossness.
Every city or country around the world has its way of dealing with abandoned dog poop problems. From marking it with pink spray at a park in London, to packing it and mailing the smelly gift back to the dog owners, frustrated citizens are coming up with increasing creative ways to remind dog owners of their responsibilities.
One blogger has taken it a step further. Walt Hickey, a lifestyle writer for the site FiveThirtyEight, asks – and answers – the question: “What would happen if nobody in New York picked up after their dogs?” The results will have you reaching for your bottle of Gravol.
- According to Hickey’s findings, the city of New York has over 600,000 dogs, each pooping about 0.32 pounds per day. Add that up for a smelly grand total of 96 tons of daily waste!
- All this crap would cause some serious health issues any one who likes to breathe. Studies have shown that 10 to 15 percent of bacteria in air samples come from… you guessed it, dog poop.
- The environment is going to suffer, too. Contrary to the misguided belief that dog poop is organic fertilizer; it’s actually a huge polluter. It contributes to a process called eutrophication where water acquires a high concentration of phosphates and nitrates promoting excessive growth of algae. When the algae dies, the high levels of organic matter deplete the water of available oxygen, causing the death of other organisms, such as fish. While it is a natural process, doggy activity certainly speeds it up.
Okay, we know that not everyone leaves dog poop behind, but it sure seems like it. And the dumps left behind still contribute to the issues that Hickey outlines above. So instead of clinging to the “forgotten baggie” defense, don’t be a s@ – pick up your dog’s droppings this winter.
Glorimar Anibarro is a proud Puerto Rican now living in Southern California. She decided to trade in a career in advertising for a bold, new adventure – becoming a bilingual pet writer, sharing her knowledge in both English and Spanish. She also writes, designs and illustrates the chronicles of "Gato Avocado": a two-dimensional cat living in a three-dimensional world.
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