(CBS Local) — Here’s an issue familiar to everyone whose ever set foot on a New York sidewalk.
Whether you live in a crowded city or small rural town, no one likes having to dodge the waste left behind by a neighbor’s dog. While many areas in the U.S. try to crack down on the littering aspect of not cleaning up after your dog, studies are also finding that dog poop is becoming a major environmental hazard too.
Pet dogs in the United States produce over 10 million tons of feces every year and not every dog owner is bagging the waste on each walk. A 2014 report by Live Science revealed that 40 percent of Americans surveyed did not clean up after their dogs. Most said the chore was “too much work,” wasn’t necessary because their dog was small, or their pet did it “in the woods.”
Regardless of the size or where it’s left, environmental advocates point out the dog poop is full of harmful bacteria and parasites. “A single gram of pet waste contains an average of 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, some of which can cause disease in humans,” the Georgia-based Clean Water Campaign notes.
According to DoodyCalls, pet waste is one of the biggest carriers of salmonella, giardia, and various types of worms. “When infected dog poop is deposited on your lawn, the eggs of certain roundworms and other parasites can linger in your soil for years,” the pet waste management group explains.
Even in urban areas, unbagged waste can still have a major effect on the environment via the local waterways. “Storm runoff almost always enters rivers, lakes, streams, or the ocean without being treated,” according to a report from Outside magazine.
“Outdoor ethics” group Leave No Trace argues that the only proper place for dog poop is a local landfill.