Dog faeces the most ‘potent’ polluter of coastal bathing water

Dublin canine homeowners are set to face stricter controls on their use of seashores this summer season on account of overwhelming proof connecting bathing water contamination to canine faeces.

Laboratory evaluation of the micro organism present in seawater samples at Dublin seashores over the course of final yr discovered canine faeces was “the most frequently detected and quantified faeces marker and at times reached very high levels”, stated Emma Finlay, senior government engineer with Dublin City Council’s environmental safety division.

“Dog faeces is a lot more potent than any other type and it can really have a big impact in a small area,” Ms Finlay wrote in a report back to metropolis councillors. “One dog foul can contaminate a water body the size of a tennis court.”

Tests had been carried out on water samples to detect genetic markers for human, fowl and canine waste. Dog waste was not solely essentially the most prevalent but in addition the one for which there was a transparent treatment, she stated.

“While we knew the pressures of humans, dogs and gulls we didn’t know the true extent of each. Dog fouling has been highlighted as the major issue and has led the steer of our ship this bathing season to challenge that,” she stated. “Unlike other bathing water challenges and pressures, dog fouling can be easily remediated by simply picking up after the dog.”

Smoking gun

The environmental safety part was, she stated, “looking to increase dog warden patrols at the beaches”. Although this posed challenges because it required the “smoking gun” of catching the canine proprietor within the act of failing to select up after their animal.

“The beach is a place where people let dogs off the lead and might not necessarily be aware their dog has gone to the bathroom,” she stated.

The part was analyzing the council’s bylaws to see if there was a method of “improving dog restrictions on beaches”.

Improved signage and an academic marketing campaign would even be applied forward of the showering season, which begins on June 1st, she stated. “It is a behavioural change we need to address with dog owners.”

An Taisce earlier this yr warned native authorities they wanted to maintain canine off “blue flag” seashores in the course of the bathing season in the event that they needed to retain that EU designation.

The blue flag scheme applies to simply 2 per cent of the shoreline. The flag and related restrictions could govern a whole seashore, or simply a part of the seashore, and might also apply to sure elements of the day solely.

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