On Wednesday 9th April a team of AONB volunteers went out to pick up litter from Burrington Combe, we were a mixture of Practical Task Volunteers and Volunteer Rangers. It was nice to bring these two groups together for a joint task.
The weather was fantastic, a lovely day for a walk down the Combe; shame we were picking up other people’s rubbish. The car parks were getting full of people making the most of the sunshine as we set off clad in our high vis jackets.
We picked up all the usual litter; bottles, cans, crisp packets and wrappers and a number of car parts; hub caps, bits of bumper, a shredded tyre and other more unusual things like an old road sign, a broken pane of glass and old rusty bits of metal. All in all we collected a huge pile that filled the back of the AONB van.
It was a real shame to see fresh litter in the afternoon on the section we had cleared that morning! However I hope you agree it does look much better
Thank you to everyone involved – it takes time and effort to keep the area looking so good!
On Saturday 5th April a small team of volunteers made their way through the mist to the Blackmoor reserve where their target was dog mess… We are trying to raise awareness of the amount of dog poo that gets left on the site, so we have literally highlighted the issue by spray painting it blue.
Why is dog fouling a problem?
In 2010 the UK dog population was estimated to be 8 million, with dogs producing approximately 1,000 tonnes of excrement each day. Although Keep Britain Tidy has recorded a reduction in overall levels of dog fouling since 2001/02, it is still a significant cause of offence amongst the public.
Dog fouling is not only unpleasant it is dangerous. The biggest threat to public health from dog excrement is toxocariasis.
What is Toxocariasis?
Toxocariasis is an infection of the roundworm Toxocara canis. The eggs of the parasite can be found in soil or sand contaminated with faeces and if swallowed, result in infection that lasts between six and 24 months. Symptoms include eye disorders, vague ache, dizziness, nausea, asthma and, in extremely rare cases, seizures/fits. Often the eggs are ingested when passed to the mouth by the hands, but this can also occur through contact with dogs or other inanimate objects including the wheels of toys and the soles of shoes. Infected soil samples are often found in play areas and as a result, Toxocariasis most commonly affects children between 18 months and five years.
Whose responsibility is it to clear away dog fouling?
It is the responsibility of the dog owner or the person in charge of the dog to clear up any dog foul left by their dog. If you fail to clean up after your dog you can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice, or if the case goes to court a fine of up to £1,000.
The regulations state specifically, that being unaware that the dog has fouled, or not having a suitable means of removing the faeces is not a reasonable excuse for failing to clean up after your dog.
What other problems are associated with dog fouling?
There is growing evidence of the links between two specific diseases in livestock and the presence on grazing land of faeces from infected dogs. The two diseases are:
• Neosporosis – which can cause abortions in cattle
• Sarcocystosis – which can cause neurological disease and death in sheep
Come on dog owners, do your bit to keep our landscape looking fantastic.