12 Apr 15

Don’t pick up that Poop! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

Are you ever out walking your dog and you see another person walking their dog, the dog stops to poop and after the dog is done the owner keeps on walking leaving the stinky, disgusting pile of poop there?  Unphased and obviously not caring about disease, someone stepping in it, other dogs potentially squishing it between their paw pads, etc. Nasty right?  I agree.  Saw that the other day and the guy even had a poop bag dispenser on his leash.  He did see his dog poop and it was right on the trail.

It’s not pretty.  A lot of people get very upset – when they see this occur, when they go for a walk and there is dog s*** everywhere.  Some put signs up to ‘curb your dog’ others put signs up saying it’s the law, (it is in case you didn’t know), to pick up after your dog – and it doesn’t take much effort.

But what’s worse than that?  What’s worse than dog poop is the INSANE amount of garbage ALL OVER Long Island.  Yea people should pick up there dog’s poop, use biodegrable bags to do so and dispose of properly.  But frankly, I am not as worried about a few piles of poop – I don’t like it – but, I am seriously worried about our environment, here on Long Island.  Driving around, walking through the woods – there is garbage strewn everywhere.

The amount of garbarge in this water is absolutely disgusting. This stream eventually feeds out into the Great South Bay. Taken on the trails through Southards Pond, North Babylon, NY.

I just don’t get it. What the F#$% is going on?

When I was a kid growing on LI, you never saw garbarge in the way it is on the sides of roads, in our streams and ponds, on our beaches, in the trees – have you driven down a road anytime lately and seen tons of plastic bags stuck in tree branches?  Or plastic bags being blown through a parking lot, down the beach right into the ocean?  Are you paying attention, or don’t even notice since it sadly seems to be our new normal?  Do you even care?

When I was a kid, we would go out on our boat in the Great South Bay and go fishing or just cruise around, anchor at Democrat Point, dock at Cedar Beach and enjoy the beauty and nature we are so incredibly lucky to be around.  When we would wash the boat, my dad was very concious of using ‘green’ biodegradable plant based cleaning products.  I remember asking him about it and he said, “So it doesn’t pollute the water and if it goes on the ground it is not harmful.”  People this was back in the 80’s and before the word ‘green’ was used when referring to the enviornment.

We would be out fishing and if there was any garbage in the water we would get the fish net and scoop it up to dispose of it properly.  And we never left anything behind from our outings – all garbage was brought back with us and disposed of properely.  My dad was a bit of a clean and neat freak, and it was a good thing.  If my dad were still alive I think he would be so disgusted with how our island looks now.

I remember the only time your really saw garbarge all over the place was when we would drive through Queens heading towards New York City (and of course in the city).  Now when I have to drive through Queens, even just on the LIE – you don’t see garbage on the side of the road – not like you do on any road on LI.

Just the other day I saw people fishing in Southards Pond in Babylon and while they are fishing just 20 feet across the way, there was a ton of garbarge on the shore and in the water – and they were fishing?  Um, are you gonna eat that fish?

Directly across from where people were fishing. Southards pond, Babylon Village, NY. There is a LOT of garbage in this picture you may not be able to see all of it.

And what are the chances that as I was walking through Southards Pond just this past weekend, to take pictures, I saw a young couple walking through with fishing waders on, carrying a net filled with garbage.  I stopped and asked them, “Are you guys picking garbage out of the water?” Suzanne Burkhardt of West Islip, said, “Yes we are – there is so much garbage everywhere it’s just awful.”  I agreed, and couldn’t believe these two young people were literally in the mucky water cleaning out garbage.  ”We were just in Florida and when we got back that was the first thing we noticed, the amount of garbarge everywhere,” said Scott Meistrich of West Islip, NY.  I thanked them for picking it up, and said I was glad I was not the only one who also notices this (and that I am not crazy!).  Why are our town, village and state officials not sending crews on a regular basis to clean this mess – of course is what I was thinking.

Suzanne Burkhardt and Scott Meistrich of West Islip - making a difference.

How do we change this culture here on Long Island to make people stop, take notice and not pollute?

Along the service Road in Bay Shore, NY - all along Sunrise Highway.

Some people will say it’s the amount of trucks on the road, (big rigs and such, garbage flying off of them when they are blazing down the highways), ok maybe – but they can’t take all the blame.

Some will say – we are a throw away society – Ok so that makes it ok?  Or the amount of people here now compared to 3o years ago.

Some might say, let’s pass another law – who will enforce it?  The garbage police? (Pollution cameras anyone?)

Think about the toxic chemicals that were dumped in Islip, Newsday and News 12 have done a great job reporting on that and repeatedly so.   I wish there was as much attention paid to cleaning up our entire island.

Taken in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. Notice the geese swimming by in the background? :(

It’s heartbreaking.  Last year I went on a bunch of business trips, Florida, Chicago, Atlanta and a few other places – and every time I landed and took a shuttle to my hotel – I noticed how clean and free from garbarge those areas were, come back to NY and garbarge garbarge everywhere.  It truly pisses me off!

Taken in Bridgehampton, across from Bridgehampton Commons. (Even the Hamptons are not immune to this).

So what can we do.  If you are reading up to this point – you care, you want to see our beautiful island cleaned up – and beyond the spring cleaning. (You will see come clean up done on the highways, but it is not ever enough). And as the grass grows in, trees and bushes have leaves on them, you won’t see the garbage as much – but it is still there.

So what can you do?

  • Write to your County Supervisor (Nassau County, Suffolk County), local town supervisor and village mayor – your legislators, the governor, etc.
  • Organize a clean up within your own community – some communities already do this – find out how you can get involved.
  • This one is so simple, use re-usable tote bags whenever you go shopping.  (You know you have them!  Put them on your front seat of your car so you don’t forget).  If you’re in a store and buying a few small things and forgot your bag – tell the cashier, “I don’t need a bag.”  Simple as that.  In the Village of Southampton – plastic shopping bags are banned – have been for about 4+ years now, and in the Town of Southampton, on April 22, Earth Day, single use plastic bags will be illegal for retailers to give out.  The same law will take place in the  Town of East Hampton the same law will take affect on September 15, 2015.  So that means the entire South Fork of Long Island retailers will no longer be legally able to give out plastic bags.  Amen!  In San Francisco they recently banned plastic bags completely from the city. (Awesome!)
  • Recycle everything you can.  A lot of people just throw things in the regular garbage that can be put into a recycle bin – familiarize yourself with what should go where.
  • See garbarge in your own neighborhood? Clean it up.
  • Are you a teacher? Is this a topic you cover with your students?
  • If you see something, say something! Take photo’s of the garbage, (on public land), and document where and when you took them, send them to your local government.

I don’t have kids but I think about my niece and nephews and when they have kids and what just our island will look like in 50 years – if we don’t do something NOW. I think about our ground water, our oceans our enviornment and what all this awful pollution is doing to us, right now.  I think about our beautiful wildlife here and how the garbage destroys their environments, how they get literally caught up in it and even die from it.  I think about how it affects our pets, just like it affects us.  (How many times has your dog picked up some kind of garbage and eaten it?)

Think about this in our water ways - are you thinking about our ground water now???

Have you thought about it?  I hope you are now. Take a look around next time you are out walking your dog, riding your bike and while driving to the dog park, (but please be careful when driving!), and see if you notice the blarring amount of pollution starring you back in the face.

Solar panels are popping up everywhere in roofs, it’s really great.  People drive Hybrid cars, awesome.  Some of our towns provide recycling bins, excellent.  Yet pollution is all around us.

So Long Islander’s I would love to hear what your ideas are or how you are making a change.  Post a comment below! Tell us what you can do!  If you are proud Long Islander, step up and help clean up – lets bring this beautiful island back!  Maybe your pet can become a Mascot for your clean up campaign? :)

And to all those people that DO pick up their dogs poop and discard it properly – thank you!

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