Gunpowder Riverkeeper’s Clear Choices Clean Water Chesapeake Bay campaign is encouraging residents of Harford County to take action to protect the important ecosystems present in the Bay region. Community members are able to take pledges promising to abstain from using harmful lawn fertilizers, to clean up after their pets, to protect and support native plants and pollinators, and to use best practices in farming and gardening in order to maintain healthy soil. These are important steps to take on an individual level in order to promote a healthy and prosperous watershed community.
The Pet Poo Pledge challenges pet owners to be thoughtful about the waste that their furry friends create and how that can impact the world we live in. According to the EPA, 2 days worth of dog waste from about 100 dogs would contribute enough pollution to close a beach, and all watersheds within 20 miles of it. The danger is that when pet waste enters into our waterways, it can release harmful bacteria such as E. Coli and viruses like tapeworm and roundworm. These have harmful effects on both humans who use the waterways to recreate and wildlife who live in them. If a bacteria like E. Coli were to enter into our water supply, it would have a large impact on public health.
It is our responsibility to ensure the health of not only our environment but also our neighbors by being thoughtful about what happens to our pets’ waste. In order to ensure the appropriate disposal of your pet’s poo, you can pick it up in a biodegradable plastic bag and throw it in the trash, flush pet waste down the toilet, install an underground pet waste digester, or bury you pet’s waste in holes at least 12 inches deep around your yard.
Small, sustained action on an individual level can help bring about systemic change when everyone gets involved. We must all do our part to protect our most valuable resource, our freshwater sources.