Beachwatch uncovers dog poo bag problem

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PILES of dog poo left in plastic bags could threaten the health and safety of beach visitors, according to the Marine Conservation Society.

The charity, in a report of its latest beach litter data, says poop scooped in bags and left on UK beaches, rose over 11% nationally between 2010 and 2011.

Flamborough’s north and south landing beaches were included in the findings, but not Bridlington north or south beach, where dogs are banned between May 1 and September 30.

MCS Beachwatch Officer, Lauren Davis, says the findings reveal good and bad habits: “We’re delighted that pet owners enjoy dog friendly beaches and clearly think ahead by carrying poop scoop bags.

“But we hope our findings will now encourage them to take the bag off the beach and bin it. Leaving a bag full of poo on the beach will result in preserved excrement, protected from the elements for years by a bag which could take a long time to break down.

“We don’t want children picking up bags that break open and spill their contents whether it’s fresh or ‘mature’. Dog poo is a source of high levels of bacteria and can lead to reduced water quality, and poses a human health risk.”

Despite an increase in poop scoop bags on our beaches, overall shore litter has dropped by 11% between 2010 and 2011. The MCS Beachwatch Big Weekend 2011 results were collected by almost 4,500 volunteers who cleaned 335 beaches nationwide, covering a total of 142.3 kilometres. 247,914 items of litter were collected filling over 2,177 bags. For every kilometre surveyed almost 1,741 pieces of litter were found. Eight bags of litter were collected from the two Flamborough beaches by a combined team of 25 volunteers.