Please, Keep Our Trails Poop Free!
It doesn’t matter where we go, whether it’s hiking in the woods or walking down a city street, dog poop is everywhere. But as long as it’s off to the side of the trail or sidewalk it’s OK, right? I mean, after all – it’s biodegradable. Wrong! Dog poop is rich in nutrients and bacteria that can make its way into our soil and water sources, polluting the environment and potentially making us sick. It can also spread worms and other intestinal parasites to other animals as well as people.
If you are out walking in the trails in Squamish you may notice many of the plastic poop bags hanging from trees, placed in the bush, floating in the water, etc. These bags are biodegradable to be friendlier to the landfill and not for the convenience of not having to carry your dog’s poop to a garbage can after you pick it up.
Some people may ask, “Why can’t dog poop be used as a fertilizer?” For poop to make a good plant fertilizer, it must contain digested plant matter that is able to be used by the plants. Farm animal manure makes excellent plant fertilizer since they are herbivores.
Many farmers out there do choose to deworm their livestock. However, if they don’t choose to, it does not pose a large health threat to the human population. Parasites do no enjoy feeding on digested plant matter and do not survive well in herbivore manure. Manure in large quantities and piles can be a threat to the environment as well. Large amounts can contain high values of phosphates and nitrates and can also provide breeding grounds for flies. All herbivore manure should be allowed time to compost before being used as fertilizer for growing food.
Dogs are carnivores. In order for a carnivorous animal’s poop to be used as fertilizer, it must be composted with other materials such as grass clippings, broken down weeds, egg shells and vegetable scraps and allowed to break down over a long period of time. This can be done in your own composter at home. However, it is not recommended to use dog manure for growing food as it can still transmit bacteria and intestinal parasites to humans and other dogs. Dogs eat garbage, meat and other weird things. We don’t want the breakdown of these things in our food.
Let’s make an effort to keep our beautiful trails clean and poop free. The biodegradable poop bags are not a reason to leave dog waste lying around and these bags are not meant to be tossed into the bush.