THE harm caused by uncollected dog poo on the Mornington Peninsula’s marine environment has prompted activist Josie Jones to bring the issue out into the open.
“I shudder every time I think about the marine creatures’ exposure to these gross pollutants,” the 2019 Mornington Peninsula Australia Day Citizen of the Year said.
“They already have such a mission just to become adults that they deserve our respect and help.”
Ms Jones, whose work has been recognised through several awards, including the 2016 Dame Phyllis Frost Award and the 2017 Litter Prevention prize from Keep Victoria Beautiful, said: “In all the years of litter prevention I have avoided saying anything about the poo problem.
“But so many people interact with the water through fishing, diving, boating and stand-up paddling that the poo compromises their ability to enjoy the marine environment safely.”
Ms Jones said for years she had watched parents sifting sand before placing their toddlers down for beach play or pulling dog poo or cigarette butts from toddlers’ hands or mouths.
“Pollution caused by dog poo extends across the entire peninsula and beyond,” she said.
“Dogs are not allowed into playgrounds [because] they leave poo on the ground and, contrary to popular belief, it can take up to a year for dog poo to break down when buried.
“The best environmental solution for dog poo is in a worm farm, and only biodegradable poo bags or newspaper should be used when collecting poo.”
Ms Jones has drawn a poster to get the message across. She said a member of the Southern Mornington Peninsula Noticeboard had suggested putting the posters up on fences and in windows at home to show solidarity with the message.
“It’s not about shaming people, it’s about respect for the earth. It’s not about obeying rules, it’s about caring for nature.
“We all want to be a part of a better future – for everyone.”
Possibly one reason for there being more poo on beaches over the past few months is that people are home and have more time to walk their dogs.