Cumberland Times-News

August 28, 2013

Scoop it

Cleaning up pet waste good for health, environment

Cumberland Times-News

— There seems to be an observance for everything these days ... National Family Literacy Day, National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day — and on and on. Now Maryland government brings us “Scoop the Poop Day.”

But lest you scoff at the idea, there are several good reasons why Marylanders and everyone else should be more careful with pet waste. Scooping pet waste is important for your health, the health of your pet and the environment. It also is courteous to clean up the mess.

The Maryland Department of the Environment estimates 1.3 million dogs live, play and do their business in Maryland. “The simple act of picking up after your dog by ‘scooping the poop’ can assist in removing harmful nutrients and bacteria from local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay, keep our citizens healthy and our yards and shoes clean,” the department’s press release said.

The Scoop the Poop Day actually occurred on Tuesday. MDE Secretary Robert M. Summers presented Friends of Patterson Park executive director, Jennifer Arndt Robinson, and the Fells Prospect Community Association with a proclamation from Gov. Martin O’Malley recognizing the day as “Scoop the Poop Day in Maryland.” Secretary Summers’ dog, Max, along with other pooches and owners also took the “scoop the poop” pledge.

For the rest of us who want to take the pledge, the state has these suggestions:

• Always clean up after your dog on walks and remind your neighbors and friends to do the same.

• Don’t wait to scoop in your own yard — keep an eye out and scoop immediately.

• Take multiple bags on walks, just in case.

• Throw out dog waste using a bio-degradable bag or flush waste down the toilet (where it will eventually end up in a wastewater treatment plant).

• Do not throw dog waste in a compost bin.

 • Start a campaign to get your community involved, installing pet disposal facilities, poop scoopers and other convenient items to encourage locals to clean up after their pets.

Now we all have the straight scoop — courtesy of Maryland state officials.