Volunteers on 'poop patrols' to improve water quality

Bellingham has a poop problem. So many people aren't picking up after their pets that local waterways are being closed down.

The city of Bellingham has a poop problem. So many people aren't picking up after their pets that local waters are being closed down.

That's where a volunteer "Poop Patrol" comes in.

"It's all hazardous waste," said Lee First as she patrolled the city's Little Squalicum Creek Park. "It pisses me off."

There are 40,000 dogs in Whatcom County alone, creating about 30,000 pounds of poop every day. Much of it never gets picked up.

The volunteers bag up the offending effluvium and properly dispose of it.

"We've had upwards of 50, 60, 70 pounds in one day, said Christine Woodward, shovel in hand.

Without their diligence, all of that excrement would eventually makes its way into the watershed. In Bellingham the situation has gotten so bad the beach at Little Squalicum Creek Park is permanently closed to swimming and shellfish harvesting. While that's not entirely due to dog waste, scientist Eleanor Hines with Resources for Sustainable Communities said it is a major contributor.

"It's a really simple solution. Just pick up the dog poop," she said.

While on patrol, the volunteers educate people about certain myths.

"People think poop is 'organic' and 'natural,'" said Hines. "It contains bacteria that will make people sick. The best way to dispose of it is in your trash."

The patrol's simple request, don't make your dog's business somebody else's.

To find out more about the patrols click here: http://www.re-sources.org/pooppledge  

© 2017 KING-TV


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