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The hidden threat: Understanding how dog waste harms Baltimore waterways

Senior Couple Walking With Pet Bulldog In Countryside

Baltimore, with its beautiful waterways and vibrant natural landscapes, is a city that takes pride in its environmental stewardship. However, a significant and often overlooked environmental hazard lurks within our communities: dog waste. While it may seem harmless, the improper disposal of dog waste can have detrimental effects on our local waterways. In this blog post, we will delve into the reasons why dog waste poses a threat to Baltimore's waterways, the environmental implications it brings and the actions we can take as responsible dog owners to minimize this impact.

Bacteria and disease

Dog waste contains harmful bacteria and pathogens that can contaminate our waterways. When it rains, stormwater runoff carries these pollutants into the nearest storm drains, eventually reaching our rivers and streams. The bacteria present in dog waste, such as E. coli and fecal coliform, can lead to waterborne illnesses and pose health risks to humans and wildlife that come into contact with the contaminated water. This contamination not only threatens the health of our local ecosystems but can also compromise the safety of recreational activities in and around our waterways.

Nutrient overload and algal blooms

Dog waste is rich in nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus. When dog waste is left on the ground or improperly disposed of, these nutrients make their way into the waterways through stormwater runoff. The excessive influx of nutrients leads to an imbalance in the aquatic ecosystem, promoting the growth of harmful algal blooms. These blooms deplete oxygen levels in the water, suffocating fish and other aquatic organisms. Additionally, some algae produce toxins that further endanger the health of aquatic life and can even affect the quality of our drinking water. The presence of algal blooms also diminishes the aesthetic appeal of our waterways, which in turn can impact local Baltimore tourism and recreational activities, like boating, kayaking, and more.

Environmental impacts

The cumulative effect of dog waste pollution in Baltimore's waterways goes beyond immediate health concerns. The altered water quality and disrupted ecosystems can harm fish populations, degrade aquatic habitats and jeopardize the overall biodiversity of our local environments. The loss of native plants and wildlife can have far-reaching ecological consequences. These losses disrupt the delicate balance of our ecosystems and also diminish the resilience of our natural habitats.

Responsible dog ownership

As dog owners in Baltimore, we have a shared responsibility to minimize the impact of dog waste on our waterways. Simple actions, when adopted collectively, can make a significant difference. Always pick up after your dog and dispose of the waste properly in designated waste bins or through bagged waste collection services. Avoid flushing dog waste down the toilet, as it can still end up in the waterways through wastewater treatment systems. Additionally, consider using eco-friendly poop bags made from biodegradable materials to further reduce the environmental footprint. By taking these steps, we can actively contribute to the preservation and protection of our cherished waterways.

Baltimore's waterways are invaluable assets that enrich our city and sustain our environment. Understanding the impact of dog waste on these precious resources is crucial in safeguarding their health and preserving their beauty for future generations. By recognizing the risks associated with dog waste pollution, promoting responsible dog ownership and taking proactive measures to properly dispose of dog waste, we can collectively reduce the contamination of our waterways and ensure the long-term vitality of Baltimore's natural ecosystems.

Cleaning up after your pet can help keep local Baltimore waterways clean, safe and disease free. DoodyCalls would also love to help you clean up after pet waste in your yard or your apartment complex. They offer commercial services that help keep common areas clean at apartment complexes and parks, as well as residential services. They take poop seriously so you don't have to!