2020 OPA Winter Sward

Dog Waste Environmental Emergency ( Continued from page 23)

within the pipes restricting efficient waterflow. In 2016, Ontario had created a $6.8 billion stormwater deficit because of inadequate funding (Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, 2016). As a result, municipalities risk sinking billions of dollars into grey rather than green infrastructure and into reactive disaster clean-ups instead of prevention. This means a higher risk of flooding, decreased water quality and degraded habitats. COVID-19 has heightened public’s awareness on the transmission of bacteria, pathogens, and the unrelenting need for virus control. This has rendered the health dangers caused by dog waste extremely relevant and timely across all communities, not only the 493 Canadian municipalities currently under an environmental emergency. Managing dog feces is a proactive green infrastructure plan. Unlike the United Nations’ “War on Ocean Plastics”, this is not a “War on Dogs” but rather Canada must acknowledge the gravity and scope of our dog waste problem. The Canadian government needs to increase its sense of urgency and support for a solution like that of plastics pollution. SUTERA In-Ground (www.sutera- inground.com), an environmental leader in solving traditional and non-traditional ecological concerns has developed and successfully implemented a comprehensive containment, collection and processing system specifically for dog waste www. sutera-inground.com/dog-waste-unit. SUTERA’s holistic dog waste solution has been proven to be extremely effective throughout the multiple municipalities who have adopted it. There is no questioning the impact plastic pollution has on our environment, but there also needs to be a spotlight placed on dog waste, this lesser acknowledged environmental and health hazard currently inundating our public spaces and waterways. Increased societal awareness coupled with government funded programs towards this repeatedly dismissed waste sub-sector will yield the desired ecological impact and results that these environmental emergencies are designed to resolve and rectify.


Canadian Animal Health Institute. (2019). Latest Canadian Pet Population Figures Released. Available at www.cahi-icsa.ca/press-releases/ latest-canadian-pet-population-figures-released (last accessed 13 January 2020) Carpenter, S.R., N.F., Correll, D.L., Howarth, R.W., Sharpley, A.N., & Smith, V.H. (1998). Nonpoint pollution of surface waters with phosphorus and nitrogen. Ecological Applications, 8, 559-568 Ellis, J.B. (2004). Bacterial sources, pathways and management strategies for urban runoff. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 47, 943-598 Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (2016). Urban Stormwater Fees: How to Pay for What We Need. Available at https://auditor.on.ca/en/ content/reporttopics/envreports/env16/Urban- Stormwater- Fees.pdf Ervin, J.S., Van De Werfhorst, L.C., Murray, J.L.S., & Holden, P.A. (2014). Microbial source tracking in a coastal California watershed reveals canines as controllable sources of fecal contamination. Environmental Science and Technology, 48, 9043- 9052 Government of Canada (2020). Draft science assessment of plastic pollution. Environment and Climate Change Canada Health Canada. Available at https://www.canada.ca/en/environment- climate- change/services/evaluating-existing- substances/draft-science-assessment-plastic- pollution.html#toc1 Executive Summary


The Green Sward - Winter 2020

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