Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bag it, grab it and take it away

A bag of dog poop flung perilously close to the water's edge

I am fond of water and love to walk around a lake set like a jewel in the crown of a mixed hardwood forest. The diversity of wildlife there is astounding: toads; frogs; salamanders; ravens; double-crested cormorants; ospreys; northern flickers; pileated woodpeckers; goldfinches; orioles; and yellow warblers.

A water quality scientist who monitors the lake tells me, “Of all the sites I visit in Massachusetts, this is my favorite. Except for the dog poop.”

For reasons that confound me, dog walkers take the time and trouble to scoop their pet waste into bags and neatly tie them closed. But instead of taking the bags away, they hurl them close to the water’s edge and into the woods. I often bring a plastic bag and pick up what I can.

I worry most about dog poop entering the waterway. When dog owners watch me pick up bags, I feel like I’m making progress in changing their behavior.  Some ask why I bother when I don’t even have a dog. I explain that dog waste is an environmental pollutant and especially harmful to waterways. And then I smile and say, "All you have to do is: bag it; grab it and take it away.”