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Bark Out

Dog walkers asked to take lead by cutting the crap

British Waterways is appealing to dog owners to stop littering the branches of Britain’s hedgerows with plastic bags filled with their pets’ poo. These smelly non biodegradable eyesores have become a common sight across the nation’s canals, parks and countryside.

With dog owners picking up their pet’s faeces but then not following the Countryside Code [of leaving no trace and taking litter away with them], British Waterways has noticed that its 2,200 miles of canal towpath, and the countryside in general, is becoming increasingly littered with the discarded bags.

To highlight the issue, British Waterways is taking a stand and, together with the Upper Calder Valley Renaissance group, has today dressed a canal-side tree on the Rochdale Canal with filled plastic bags inspired by the real problem.

Robin Evans, chief executive of British Waterways, comments: “It is great that people are picking up after their pet, but why put something that is biodegradable into a bag that isn’t and then chuck it into the nearest hedge. It just doesn’t make sense. Our message is simple, if you’re a dog owner visiting a canal or the countryside in general, clear up after your pet and then dispose of the bag properly.”

Louise Harrison, project coordinator for Upper Calder Valley Renaissance, says: “We are pleased to support British Waterways in their appeal to dog owners across the country. Here in the Calder Valley we have some of the nation’s most beautiful countryside and it is barking mad that people insist on spoiling it in this way.

“Hopefully the shocking sight of a beautiful tree entirely decorated with bags of poo will remind pet owners just how silly it is to discard of their dogs’ mess in this way.”

• There are more than seven million dogs in the UK

• Dog walkers make 75 million visits to British Waterways’ canals and rivers each year making up 22% of all visits to canals

• Dog faeces normally takes weeks to biodegrade, but plastic bags are estimated to take 500 years

Driving with your dog