Don’t dump on our Reef


Karlie Brady


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Romayne Westwood responsibly picks up after har dog George when going for walks on Four Mile Beach. Image: Karlie Brady.

Don’t dump on our Reef is the message from the Tangaroa Blue Foundation in a new campaign, supported by Douglas Shire Council, to highlight the issue of single-use plastic dog poo bags and dog poo ending up on the Great Barrier Reef.

The Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database shows single-use plastic items such as dog poo bags are one of the top 10 items of litter impacting the Great Barrier Reef and waterways across Australia.

Tangaroa Blue CEO, Heidi Tait, said the Don’t dump on our Reef campaign has been designed to help dog owners understand the impact dog poo, and the single-use plastic bags used to collect it, has on the reef.

“While some dog owners always pick up their dog’s waste, bag, and bin it, others are less vigilant which can result in damage to the reef,” she said.

Studies have also found dog poo contains parasites such as campylobacteriosis, tapeworm, E. Coli, and Salmonella so failing to collect it and dispose of it properly can present a public health risk.

“When it comes to dog waste, we need to stop the spread and we need dog owners around the reef to take responsibility for their dog’s poo,” Ms Tait says.

As part of the campaign, Tangaroa Blue will roll out dog poo bag dispenser sticker signage at Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas in June.

It will then conduct audits of the number of single-use plastic poo bags left before and after the signage is implemented.

Douglas Shire Mayor, Michael Kerr, encouraged dog owners to pick up after their pooches and be aware of how they dispose of it.

“We would like to remind dog owners that it is their responsibility to clean up any little surprises that may happen during their daily walks,” he said.

“Dog-poop bag dispensers are available at popular beach entries and parks in the Shire. “

The ReefClean Don’t Dump on our Reef campaign is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the removal and prevention of marine debris.

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