ReefClean; Don’t Dump on Our Reef – This campaign is an initiative to help educate dog owners about the impact dog poo and single-use plastic dog poo bags have around the Great Barrier Reef.
The team at Tangaroa Blue Foundation have set out to educate the public about the harmful environmental effects of dog waste and propose methods of green disposal in order to further reduce the environmental impact associated with pet ownership.
Many dog owners see their pets’ waste as a natural product, which leads to a large number of dog owners leaving their dog waste to degrade in the environment. Despite this statement being of truth, dog waste does contain a large number of pathogens and nutrients. The environment is able to break down these pathogens and nutrients up to a certain load, however current statistics demonstrate that a large number of dogs are registered within suburban areas. This has led to an increased load of waste produced within a smaller area, surpassing the environmental threshold for natural waste management.
The pathogens found in dog waste can be toxic to humans, with many parasites and infections readily transferable to the human body (for example; Salmonella, Campylobacteriosis, Cryptosporidiosis, Toxocariasis, Hookworm infection, Echinococcosis (caused by tapeworms) and Giardia). Not to mention your beloved pets’ wandering nose could also readily pick up any of these harmful parasites and infections from any dog waste left behind by previous owners, or even worse your dog waste could infect somebody else’s beloved pet! In regards to an increased nutrient load within the environment, this can directly impact the quality of neighbouring water bodies within the catchment area leading to excessive weed or algae growth.
For those dog owners that do pick up their pets’ waste, many use plastic products to do so. This in turn creates another debris item, and often is not disposed of correctly. When considering green methods of disposable it is important to understand what the doggy bag is made of (for example avoid items containing petrochemicals and instead use items made of cornstarch).
Read more to find out how you can help keep our precious Great Barrier Reef clean:
The Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database shows single-use plastic items like dog poo bags are a major litter issue facing the Great Barrier Reef and waterways across Australia.
Tangaroa Blue Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation focused on the health of our marine environment, and coordinates the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, an on-ground network of volunteers, communities, organisations and agencies around the country monitoring the impacts of marine debris along their stretch of coastline.
In Maori and Polynesian mythology, Tangaroa is one of the great gods, the god of the ocean. He is the son of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, Sky and Earth. Tangaroa is the father of many sea creatures and his breaths are the tides. Tangaroa made laws to protect the ocean and its sea creatures “Tiaki mai i ahau, maku ano koe e tiaki”… If you look after me, then I will look after you…”
The organisation was named Tangaroa Blue Foundation to highlight the importance of protecting our oceans and creating programs and resources to help communities look after their local coastal environment.