The Leader (Tasman) - - FRONT PAGE -

Pub­lic ar­eas are be­ing lit­tered with doggy doo and it’s not just frus­trat­ing lo­cals – it’s also im­pact­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

While most dog own­ers are scoop­ing the poop, some are turn­ing a blind eye to their pooch defe­cat­ing on walk­ways, parks and beaches.

There are 5500 dogs reg­is­tered in Nel­son with an av­er­age dog pro­duc­ing about 125kg of waste a year.

Dog fae­ces left in a pub­lic place is not only un­sightly and smelly, it’s a health haz­ard for wa­ter­ways.

Nel­son City Coun­cil Strat­egy and En­vi­ron­ment group man­ager Clare Bar­ton said dog waste left on hard sur­faces was washed straight in to the stormwa­ter sys­tem and into rivers and Tas­man Bay.

‘‘Even dog poo left on grass is harm­ful as E.coli bac­te­ria will wash through the soil into the river.’’

Pro­ject Maitai, a four-year coun­cil ini­tia­tive fo­cused on the en­vi­ron­men­tal health of the Maitai River and all its trib­u­taries has been look­ing at ways to ed­u­cate peo­ple about the im­pact of dog poo on our rivers.

Bar­ton said some of the main prob­lem ar­eas where own­ers were leav­ing a mess in­cluded the Cen­tre of New Zealand and Maitai Val­ley.

Face­book Nel­son Dog Own­ers group co-or­di­na­tor Mar­garet Cot­ton said there was the group who ‘‘try re­ally hard to pick up their dog poos, then you’ve got the group that doesn’t’’.

She said peo­ple needed to think about the mes­sage, ‘‘keep New Zealand beau­ti­ful.’’

It’s not just some Nel­son dog own­ers who are tak­ing a lax ap­proach to bag­ging the poo, Tas­man ar­eas are also be­ing marred.

Ma­pua Neigh­bourly mem­ber Ch­eryl Keen said dog poo was a ‘‘huge is­sue’’ in Ma­pua, es­pe­cially around the school.

She said the coun­cil had done a ‘‘great job’’ pro­vid­ing dog own­ers ‘‘with the best chance of keep­ing Ma­pua dog poo free.

‘‘There is a dog­gie bag col­lec­tions place right at the start of this track. There are many days where there is dog poo within 20 me­tres of this dog bag box.’’

The Tas­man District Coun­cil and the Nel­son City Coun­cil both have an in­stant $300 fine for fail­ing to pick it up.

Bar­ton said the coun­cil put bag dis­pensers and bins in the most com­monly used ar­eas to en­cour­age and help peo­ple to do the right thing.

‘‘But ul­ti­mately it is up to the dog owner to make sure they re­move their dog’s poo and dis­pose of it prop­erly’’. A sin­gle gram of pet waste, the size of a pea, con­tains 23 mil­lion fae­cal co­l­iform bac­te­ria

• Bac­te­ria from dog fae­ces are washed into the river dur­ing rain or flood events

• Re­search has shown that dog fae­ces are one of the ma­jor con­trib­u­tors to E.coli found in the Maitai River.

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