It’s a game of numbers that begins with one basic starting point: One gram of dog waste (equivalent to the weight of a small paperclip) contains 23 million fecal coliform bacteria. That’s nearly twice as much as human waste!
But it gets worse. The average dog excretes 340 grams (3/4 of a pound) of waste per day. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, just TWO days of waste from 100 dogs would create enough pollution to close 20 miles of beach.
Now, let’s pull in some numbers that matter to Brevard County and the Indian River Lagoon. There are over 230,000 households in Brevard – and using the national average of 38.4% of them having a dog – we have about 88,000 dogs. That can be a huge problem when people don’t pick up after their pet. And studies show that only 60% do.
When dog waste is not picked up, pathogens begin their migration – either permeating the soil to our groundwater or following rain’s path to the nearest storm drain. Over 1,700 storm drains within the county lead to the Lagoon. From here, the waste mimics ‘fertilizer’ feeding algal blooms and adding to bacteria-filled muck that eventually smothers seagrass and contributes to fish kills. This causes concern for swimmers and makes fish inedible.
Seagrass is the lifeblood of the Lagoon giving safe harbor for fish to spawn, manatees to feed, and crustaceans to call home.
It’s simple to pick up after your pet and put pet waste in the trash.
An eco-friendly way to pick up after your dog is with plant-based biodegradable bags found right next to the dog food at your local grocery store. Any grocery bag will do but they don’t decompose as fast as biodegradables. Once you pick up your pet’s waste, simply drop it in your trash can so your local waste management company can take it to the landfill.
To avoid adding to the landfill altogether, dispose of your pet waste (never the bag) in your toilet.
Now that you know, please show, tell and share with your neighbors the necessity of picking up after your pet. Lead by example. Tell them in conversations. Share with them on social media. Show everyone how easy it is to purchase biodegradable bags and brag about points you can earn and apply towards local goodies on LagoonLoyal.com.
For more information on what else you can do to help save the Lagoon, please join LagoonLoyal.com, Brevard’s user-friendly educational resource for homeowners and businesses.
About Lagoon Loyal
Lagoon Loyal is a Brevard County community outreach and incentive program that encourages residents to commit to activities that benefit the health of the Indian River Lagoon. The program is part of Brevard County’s Save Our Indian River Lagoon Project Plan, funded by the ½ cent sales tax referendum passed in 2016.