In the United States, pet dogs produce 21.2 billion pounds of poop each year. All that poop is polluting water sources, both in urban areas and the backcountry, largely because dog owners aren’t doing a good enough job picking it up. Let’s look at the reasons why dog poop has become such a problem, and examine what we can do about it.
Why Dog Poop Matters
Two reasons: There’s too much of it and it’s full of bacteria and parasites.
Research shows that most dog owners pick up after their pets in the street and at the local park, but often don’t take along a plastic bag when out hiking in the backcountry, assuming it’s no big deal. But Wes Siler, a contributing editor to Outside Magazine, tells host Steve Curwood that all that dog poop does add up to potential harm by introducing foreign bacteria and nutrients to forests, fields, and streams.
Satellite images of rivers across the U.S. have revealed a troubling color-changing trend: Over the past three decades, one-third of formerly blue rivers have turned a shade of yellow or green. The discovery comes after an analysis of nearly 235,000 images taken from 1984 to 2018. Amongst the rivers that changed color, 56 percent were mostly yellow and 38 percent were mostly green.
It’s not often you can help solve two of the world’s problems with a single solution. Dutch startup PlasticRoad, however, is doing just that. To tackle both plastic pollution and climate change, the company is producing the next generation of sustainable infrastructure: roads made out of recycled plastic.