Disposal of dog waste has been an issue of increasing concern in Summit, understandably when some dog walkers either don't pick up after their pets or do but dispose of the bagged waste improperly. More than just an aesthetic issue, dog waste left along our streets presents hygienic and safety issues as well.
When pet waste is improperly disposed of, it can be picked up by storm water runoff and washed into storm drains and nearby water bodies. In Summit, our storm drains run right to the Passaic and Rahway Rivers, so pet waste goes, untreated, into the rivers, where it can damage the health of fish and other aquatic life. Also, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, pet waste (whether left on the street or washed into storm drains) carries bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can threaten the health of humans and wildlife.
Summit has an ordinance requiring dog walkers to "scoop the poop" and dispose of it in a sanitary manner. Put simply, that means that you must bag the waste and take it with you, preferably to be disposed of in your own garbage (in the bag used to pick it up) at home.
Please do not dump the bagged waste along your walking route or leave the bagged waste in a recycling container. And save your money if you are thinking of buying biodegradable dog waste bags; they are not necessary. All of Summit's trash goes to an incinerator. Using leftover bags from newspapers or grocery store produce is ultimately a greener alternative.
Being a responsible pet owner is yet another way to help create a healthy environment in Summit.
By Amy Cairns Harrison
Chairman, Summit Environmental Commission