Monday, October 25, 2010

No Dumping

Today's post is a bit of a rant. I have a dog, a grey-hound mix at that, who requires plenty of exercise throughout the day. Since we live in a condo, this exercise is usually provided via walks throughout the neighbourhood. I like to walk in green areas, which to me are interesting, relaxing, and safe, with man-made pathways so that I do not have to rely on bushwhacking to get where I want to go. This preference therefore leads me to use parks, pedestrian/cycling paths that follow waterways, and man-made marshes with raised banks. In newly built Hull subdivisions, man-made marshes have been constructed to deal with water run-off; they are situated beside parks and in my view, are a part of the park, as they are usually maintained by city employees, providing an extension to park walkways.





My first complaint has mostly to do with these man-made marshes. Just because these areas are not refined in the same manner as a park, does not mean that people do not use them. It is actually quite an ingenious way to use nature to reduce pollutants in our water ways, creates a habitat for birds and other animals, and provides a point of interest for people to walk to.  I understand that people do not like to put their garden refuse out for garbage pickup because it is compostable. However, this does not mean that it should be thrown into these natural areas to decompose. First and foremost, this refuse often has a lot of fertilizer which can kill plants growing in the marsh. It is generally in one big pile and quite ugly to look at. What's more is that I've often seen non-compostable materials dumped in these areas. If everyone in the neighbourhood were to dump their stuff, the marshes would no longer be able to function as an eco-system, and people would stop using them as a way to increase their physical activity and well-being. So please, if you do this, STOP! Start a compost pile in your backyard, wait for yard waste pick-up, or get your neighbour to help you compost and/or put your garbage out for you if there is a bag maximum.








My second complaint is about dog owners. I like to think that I am a responsible dog-owner and pick up after my dog. Irresponsible dog-owners are ruining it for the rest of us when their dog takes a dump. Often, in the green areas where I walk my dog, I see dog poop along the sides of pathways. People seem to think that if it's off the pathway then it's okay. What they don't realize is that others do in fact use these areas, say to play with their dog (i.e. me), and inadvertently step in it. It's smelly, unsightly, difficult to remove from the tread of your shoe, and contrary to popular belief, not a good fertilizer. What's worse, is that young children can come into contact with it; and much of what young children come into contact with ends up in their mouths...Dog poop contains a lot of bacteria including E. coli, fecal coliform bacteria, salmonella and giardia.  These bacteria can also end up in our waterways when water runoff comes into contact with the dog poop and flows into storm drains. So please, please pick up after your dog in these areas - and if at all possible, with biodegradable bags. You can also buy bag holders, from most pet stores, that hook onto the leash so you won't forget a bag ever again!


My take-home message in a nut-shell: NO DUMPING in public areas


Useful Links


Composting tips:
http://www.greenlivingtips.com/articles/204/1/Composting-tips.html


How to deal with dog poop in an environmentally friendly way:
http://www.greenlivingtips.com/articles/43/1/Dealing-with-dog-poop.html