Pet waste is a serious contributor to the pollution problem affecting Biscayne Bay


NORTH BAY VILLAGE, Florida. – We have long reported on the critical pollution problem that is infecting all of South Florida’s waterways, causing the health of Biscayne Bay to decline rapidly.

And while the main contributors are those deadly nutrients spewed out by our failing infrastructure, agricultural runoff and dirty stormwater, did you know that uncollected pet waste is also to blame?

Many of us say we do, but the truth is, not all of us do.

It’s more than just a smelly mess because those lawn sneers can harbor tons of viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

In fact, according to the EPA, just two to three days of waste from 100 dogs can spit up enough bacteria, nitrogen and phosphorus to force the closure of 20 miles of the bay to swimming and other water activities. .

“When pet waste is on the street or on the ground, it gets washed down the drain. And that can be a really big source of bacteria that can pollute our water,” said Rachel Silverstein, executive director of Miami. Waterkeeper.

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Those who watch over our waters have been sounding the alarm for years.

“So what’s really affecting Biscayne Bay may be like death by 1,000 cuts,” Silverstein said.

Biscayne Bay is at a dangerous tipping point: an onslaught of deadly nutrients from land-based pollutants is constantly dumped into the watershed: sewer bursts, septic leaks, fertilizer and stormwater runoff, and yes, even garbage uncollected pets.

“I don’t think residents realize the connection between animal waste and nutrients that end up in the bay,” said North Bay Village Commissioner Rachel Streitfeld.

Streitfeld also sits on the Biscayne Bay Watershed Management Board in Miami-Dade.

Last summer, when residents of North Bay Village complained that some neighbors weren’t picking up their pets’ feces, she decided to do something about it.

“We did ‘Scoop the Poop.’ We had a public service community engagement campaign to educate our residents about the truly harmful effects of pet waste when left on the ground and not picked up,” Streitfeld said.

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PSA videos were produced and street signs were put up to get the message home – pick up your dog poop. The health of our bay depends on it.

Miami-Dade Bay Chief Officer Irela Bague highlights why no matter how far you think you are from the bay or intracoastal, your dog’s poo can be deadly.

“Little nitrogen bombs,” she said. “Okay, it ends up in our storm drains again or in the canals again, and it gets discharged into Biscayne Bay.”

And that’s something South Florida puppy parents don’t quite realize.

“Even something as small as picking up your dog’s feces can actually improve Biscayne Bay health. Well, then that’s all the more reason to do it, isn’t it? Be a courteous neighbor and a good environmentalist. Sounds perfect,” resident Ursulla Henninger said.

North Bay Village will kick off its 2022 Poop Free Campaign on Sunday, April 24.

Miami Lakes will also launch its responsible pet ownership campaign by early summer.

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North Bay Village will kick off its 2022 Poop Free Campaign on Sunday, April 24. (WPLG)


North Bay Village Scoop the Poop Campaign:

The best biodegradable and compostable garbage bags:

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Clean up after your pet poster (WPLG)

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