If you enjoy public parks, walking your dog and alternative/green energy solutions, then this story is for you. That’s an electrifying thought: power through the methane gas produced by waste.
I personally like this because it solves more than one problem at a time. This gives animal owners more than one reason to clean up after their pets. The education of pet owners has come a long way since I was a child — and thank goodness. Picking up pet waste isn’t just for the smell, it also helps keep our local water sources clean. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says pet waste is a significant cause of water body contamination in areas where there are high concentrations of dogs. This is important because we drink the water that is contaminated by animal waste. It isn’t just the large feed lots that produce enough waste to contaminate our local water sources.
Doggie doo harbors coliform bacteria, which includes E. coli, a bacterium that can cause disease, and fecal coliform bacteria, which spread through feces. Dogs also carry salmonella and giardia. Environmental officials use measurements of some of these bacteria as barometers of how much fecal matter has contaminated a body of water.
The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association’s statistics show that Americans owned 54.6 million dogs in 1996 and 68 million dogs in 2000. Of that total, 45% were “large” dogs — 40 pounds or more. Food in; poo out. If that many people were leaving their waste in public parks, we’d have a riot on our hands.
Bottom line: it’s not fertilizing, it’s polluting. Let that thought power the light bulb that ought to go off the next time you walk your dog so that you bring along a bag to remove and dispose of your pet’s waste in a responsible manner.