As part of the drive to improve visitors’ enjoyment of its 2,000 miles of canals and rivers, British Waterways is installing 1,000 new dog waste bins at popular towpath access points across the country.
Half the population of Britain lives within five miles of an inland waterway and each year some 4.6 million visits are made by people and their dogs to British Waterways’ towpaths.
The project has been guided by research undertaken by Encams, the charity that runs the Keep Britain Tidy campaign, which reveals one of the main reasons why people don’t clear up after their dog is the lack of a convenient and safe means of waste disposal.
Stewart Sim, British Waterways’ technical director, explains:
"We welcome responsible dog owners and we want more people to enjoy our waterways, so we’re providing bins at the most popular access points and asking dog owners to clear up after their pets to help keep the waterways special for all.
"Over 10 million people visit the waterways each year to enjoy their unique blend of heritage, wildlife and leisure. People visit by boat, on foot, on bikes, for fishing or to exercise their dogs, but dog mess is consistently among the most frequent complaints made by visitors."
With the help of specialists JRB Enterprises, British Waterways is working with local authorities to arrange waste collection programmes. British Waterways already works in partnership with a number of local authorities across the country to provide dog waste bins for its visitors. This national campaign aims to increase the number of partnerships and provide facilities at many more waterside locations.
The new dog waste bins are being sponsored by animal health company, Bayer, makers of the UK’s leading dog wormer, Drontal.
Sabrina Stroud of Bayer says:
"Dog faeces carry the risk of toxocariasis, a disease transmitted through the eggs of dog worms and which can survive in the soil for up to four years. Human contact with the Toxocara canis worms can result in serious infections and, in the worst possible cases, blindness.
"However, by clearing up your dog’s mess in the bins provided and by making sure your pet is wormed every three months, we can vastly reduce the public risk."
A marketing and monitoring programme to encourage responsible dog ownership will support the project and measure the success of the three-year campaign. Leaflets, produced in association with the Kennel Club, with information on ‘dog-friendly’ waterway sites will be available from the Kennel Club, PRO Dogs and Drontal, and from British Waterways’ Customer Service Centre, tel 01923 201120. Poop scoop bag packs will be given out by British Waterways’ staff and posters will be put up on at key canalside locations across the country.
For more information about visiting the inland waterways, including a map showing a selection of ‘dog-friendly’ sites across the country, visit Waterscape.com/dogs