Why’s it so hard to stop dog poop?
If you’re walking down the street anywhere in the world, especially in a big urban city like New York City or San Francisco, it’s hard to go more than a few blocks without seeing some canine fecal matter in your way. Pretty much everyone loves dogs, but no one loves their poop-- whether it be picking it up or walking around it on the sidewalk.
Of course, having to pick up leavings is part of the deal when it comes to owning a loveable pet, but why should passerbys have to suffer the inconvenience for a dog who is not their responsibility? Frankly, they shouldn’t, but that seems to be a common occurrence in a big city--which doesn’t really seem fair, and city-goers know this. So why hasn’t the problem been fixed yet?
Sadly, fixing this poopy problem is not as easy as it sounds. Many owners religiously avoid the signs and notices put up in cities reminding them to scoop. Adding fines seems like a great solution… but it’s difficult to enforce something like that-- there are dogs pooping all over big cities all the time, and having it spotted and reported, as well as having someone actually get there on time to deliver the fine, is easier said than done. You could always try something crazy, like Mexico City did-- they added bins that gave off free wifi signals to everyone in the park, and upped the amount of free wifi minutes based on the weight of the bins. They even had humans standing around distributing compostable bags to anyone who asked. This method may seem a little over the top, and it probably was. Not only is that expensive, but it would be difficult to maintain over time, given the need for more bags, keeping the bins in good shape, and hiring people to distribute them. It’s an interesting idea, but not necessarily a sustainable one.
On the simpler side, San Francisco simply put up compostable bins to dispose of dog waste, with no other incentive, aside from the aforementioned fines and the free compostable bags provided at polls nearby. It has helped cut back on the city’s problem with waste, but has far from defeated it. Of course, with no way to stop bags from getting stolen, they frequently run short. San Francisco has tried many ways to solve their pervasive poop problem, but with little success.
Sometimes, people even take matters into their own hands. In Cambridge, a group attempted to stop unlawful pooping via an app that tracked where poop had been left, and if it had been cleaned up. This is a noble idea, but requires group communication and many people getting together to do something that is ultimately not their job.
What do you think the best way for cities to stop this poop epidemic would be? Let us know in the comments below!