Owning pets, loving them and taking care of them is one of the best things you can do in life. However, doing all these things and forgetting to take care of the environment is bad. This article intends to highlight the environmental issue of pet waste pollution, and to suggest pet owners some effective ways to reduce it.
Pet waste and water quality
For many pet owners it is no big deal to take their pets on a walk outside, allowing them to poop anywhere and then not picking it up. Probably they do not realize how bad the effect of accumulated pet waste is on the local water resources. Some others act as partially responsible pet owners, pick up the waste but do not dispose it off properly.
Improper disposal of pet waste directly affects the water bodies, as rains carry them along and they end up in storm drains. Not every, in fact a very few storm drains have treatment facilities. This means polluted water containing animal feces from storm drains end up in lakes and streams.
Pet waste in lakes and streams decays and consumes a lot of oxygen and the process releases ammonia in water as well. Ammonia and lower levels of oxygen in water make life for fish and other aquatic life difficult, often leading to their death.
Besides presence of bacteria, parasites and viruses, pet waste also contains some nutrients that promote weed and algae growth in water. These growths make the water cloudy or green and unfit for recreational activities.
Other dangers of pet waste
Disease causing parasites and bacteria in pet waste is dangerous for children because it infects them, and even for pets. Infected feces of a pet can infect another pet. Improper disposal of pet waste not only mixes with water and pollutes it but deteriorates health of pets and human beings as well.
Salmonellosis is the most common bacterial infection human beings catch from pet waste, and suffer from diarrhea, muscle aches, vomiting, headache, and fever.
Another infection is Campylobacteriosis that causes diarrhea, and toxocariasis are roundworms that are transmitted from dogs to humans that cause fever, cough and vision loss. A parasite carried by cats is toxoplasmosis, which causes serious birth defects in women if they get infected during their pregnancy.
Ways to make a difference
The pet waste pollution problem demands attention of all pet owners, and they must get encouraged eliminate this problem. This is one type of pollution problem that can be easily addressed, provided every pet owner ensures to collect pet waste and dispose it properly. Unattended pet waste attracts flies, which sit upon it and then spread diseases.
You should carry along a pet waste bag; try to fetch some biodegradable pet waste bags. This will amp up the green quotient of your environmentally friendly practice of disposing pet waste properly.
As soon as your pet poops, pick it up and place it in the trash can. You can also flush it down the toilet pipes but make sure you do it without the pet waste bag. You can check with the municipality rules and laws, and accordingly dispose the waste.
Even if there are not any laws as such in your locality, you still should follow healthy pet practices. You must understand your responsibility and work towards eliminating poor pet practices and its after effects. Be a part of pet waste management programs and work towards spreading public awareness regarding the ill effects of improper pet waste management.
Better water quality, cleaner and healthier neighborhoods, and reduced risk to a lot many infections and diseases are some of the benefits of pet waste management.