Lots of people around here have dogs, and they like to walk them down beside the canal. It’s nice down there; trees screen out the housing estates and logistic warehouses and it seems like we still live in the countryside.
There are big red bins along the paths for dog poop. I don’t know how often they are emptied but they always stink in the summer. They offer reassurance that you haven’t lost your sense of smell, at least.
Because some dog owners are idiots, and because some dogs like to sneak off somewhere private, there is also a fair amount of poop which doesn’t make it to the bins. For some reason which escapes me, it’s someone’s actual job to wander along the footpaths in search of these rogue dumps, and to spraypaint a ring around them. Maybe it’s one of those half-assed psychological interventions that policy makers are so keen on now, a blue ring of shame (LOOK! WHO LEFT THIS? WAS IT YOU?), maybe the council can’t afford to pay enough for someone to actually pick the stuff up.
The bottom of the barrel, though, are the people (and we can’t blame the dogs here) who gather the dogshit into plastic bags, tie them neatly and then leave them on the paths, or tie them to the branches of trees, like the very worst Christmas ever. It’s hard to think of any kind of pollution that’s improved by the addition of single-use plastic.
There have been better ideas. A couple of years ago the news channels gave over their silly segment to a man called Brian Harper who had made a bio waste convertor that powers a lamp. It’s a bit clunky, but it was a prototype; and it obviously works. Everyone in this clip agrees it’s a great idea, though they are mostly smirking while they do.
Other projects, like this one that Kevin McLeod visited (in 2013!) are able to work at scale, so why isn’t it just something that happens everywhere? Why does some poor sod’s job still consist of trudging around with the spraypaint? What, as Kevin says, is wrong with us?