A Revelstoke dog wears a special badge to prove its owner is responsible—a green plastic bag, tied to a leash or collar.
The dog poops and the obedient owner scoops the poop with the bag.
All good so far. But, is that owner as responsible as the dog thinks? What happens to that green bag of poop?
For some reason some dog owners think it is OK to toss that bag of poop off to the side of the trail.
The dog pretends not to notice and looks the other way.
These lumpy green bags are plentiful at the cross-country ski trails, on the green belt, along the trails at Revelstoke National Park and even at the dog free golf course.
Green poop bags are found around the corner in the bushes, they line the road embankments and decorate city parks.
Don’t do this!
Dogs of Revelstoke, please growl and bark when your owner tosses your bag of poop into the bushes.
Make them feel bad and put their tail between their legs.
Littering plastic and poop this way is gross, not to mention that throwing that bag of poop over the bank is punishable by the city with a $200 fine.
Furthermore, how “green” is this single use biodegradable bag?
What does biodegradable mean? It just means that the plastic bags have ingredients so that the bag will break down faster into smaller plastic bits.
It is still made of plastic and it is still single use. Biodegradable does not equal compostable.
Should dog owner carry the poop home and put it in the garbage? Well hold on a moment. Animal feces is a prohibited waste product under city bylaws.
That can result in another $200 fine. For a good reason too; the oozing and splattering of feces is very unpleasant for the municipal employees.
They can probably sneak a small amount, doubled bagged.
It will go unnoticed for a few hundred years until future archaeologists do landfill research and discover the plastic bags and contents fully intact.
So what is the dog’s responsible owner to do?
Here are some options.
Option 1: Flush the poop down the toilet, (but not the plastic bag!)
Option 2: Bury the feces.
Option 3: (This is the Politically Incorrect option suggested by a Nakusp resident). Stick and flick. After pooping on trails in remote areas, the dog gets it’s owner to take a stick and flick the poop into the bushes where it will naturally decompose in a few days.
Option 4: Lobby council for a city wide comprehensive organic waste reuse program.
In addition to providing a solution for dog poop disposal and all other organic waste, there are many other benefits including:First, prohibiting organic waste from the garbage would remove 30 to 50 per cent of the waste going to the landfill.
Second, eliminating organics from the landfill will reduce methane gas production and noxious odors.
Third, organic waste reuse creates a truly green commercially viable product. The Okanagan has been selling the product for decades now.
Furthermore, this removes bear attractants from garbage bins.
The bears will go back into the forest and eat berries and roots, better for both our community and the bear’s well-being.
With a few more initiatives like North Columbia Environmental Society’s clear and simple request to prohibit single use plastics, our society will be on the road to eliminating garbage altogether.
Can the municipal council muster the courage and make organic reuse a reality? Yes, they can!
After all, they have all barked about doing the right environmental thing. Some even have canine companions to cheer them on.
There will be lots of naysayers, and bureaucracy will look for problems instead of solutions, but it can be done and has been done in many other communities, including towns with snow and bears.
This environmental and economically responsible action requires decisive leadership by council.
To make it a reality, void of bureaucratic excuses and delays, they need to instruct staff to make it happen by a specific date.
In my opinion, Sept. 1, 2020, is realistic.
This environmental initiative would be a lasting legacy to council’s credit.