Keep dog litter out of the sea

Today, 30th September, is the day that dogs are allowed back on Bexhill beach between the Sovereign Light Cafe and the Sailing Club since the 1st of May.

Although dogs are restricted on some beaches, there are miles more that welcome responsible dog owners. When it comes to dog mess, bag it, bin it and enjoy the beach with your four-legged friend.

Dog litter washed down the sea, one way or another, will cause the spread of bacteria. In some extreme cases, it may cause blindness to humans. This is due to the parasites found in dog poop cause zoonoses, diseases or infections of animals that can be passed to humans. Water washed into the sea from inland containing dog poo residues, will contribute towards the increase of the sea’s bacterial levels, therefore, worsening the bathing water quality.

The Water Quality is currently rated Sufficient. Ratings can be found on the Environment Agency website.

The organic solids in dog feces consist of: 25–54% bacterial biomass and is understood to have dangerous levels of E-coli, salmonella and parasites. To prevent this bacteria contaminating the sea, it is better tucked away in a biodegradable bag and disposed of at a Dog Litter Bin.

The Environment Agency produces data on the E. coli and Enterococci content level of the bathing water in Bexhill. As seen on the graph, there has been an increase in cases of both faecal indicator bacteria, especially during the bathing season.

Environment Agency – Water Quality Data

Keep Britain Tidy had launched a campaign in 2014 called ‘We’re Watching you’. It’s aim to reduce dog fouling in public area and it has been introduced in several locations in the Rother District. The campaign has proven to be successful as there has been a known reduction in dog litter. However, according to the graphs above, there is still room for improvement. In the hours of darkness, dog walkers still feel like they are not seen and are more likely to leave the dog litter on the streets and beaches. Hence, there is often an increase in the levels of dog mess during winter and the days being shorter.

As a dog owner, you have a responsibility of cleaning up after your pet. If the owner fails to comply, they will face a fixed penalty notice of £100. Rother District Council states: “A person is not exempt from the responsibility of removing dog faeces in the event he/she is unaware of the defecation of their dog or not having a poo bag on hand suitable to clean up.”

You can find more information through your local council.

Rother District Council – Dog Fouling

Hastings District Council – Dog Fouling