Animal waste is a serious contributor to the pollution problem affecting Biscayne Bay

NORTH BAY VILLAGE, Florida. – We have long reported the critical pollution problem that is infecting all of South Florida’s waterways and leading to the rapidly deteriorating health of Biscayne Bay.

And while the biggest contributors are deadly nutrients from our failing infrastructure, farm runoff, and dirty rainwater, did you know that uncollected animal waste is also to blame?

Many of us say we do, but the truth is, not all of us do.

It’s more than just a smelly mess as these lawn snickers can harbor tons of viruses, bacteria and parasites.

In fact, according to the EPA, just two to three days of waste from 100 dogs can spew out enough bacteria, nitrogen and phosphorus to force 20 miles of the bay to be closed to swimming and other water activities.

“If there is pet poo on the street or on the ground, it will be washed down the drain. And it can be a really big source of bacteria that can contaminate our water,” said Rachel Silverstein, executive director of Miami Waterkeeper.


Those who watch over our waters have been sounding the alarm for years.

“So what’s really going on with Biscayne Bay can be like death by 1,000 cuts,” Silverstein said.

Biscayne Bay is at a dangerous tipping point: an onslaught of deadly nutrients from land-based pollutants is constantly spewing into the watershed—sewage breaks, septic leaks, fertilizer and stormwater runoff, and yes, even uncollected pet waste.

“I don’t think residents are aware of the link between animal droppings and nutrients entering the bay,” said Rachel Streitfeld, North Bay municipal commissioner.

Streitfeld also sits on the board of directors of Biscayne Bay Watershed in Miami-Dade.

Last summer, when residents of North Bay Village complained that some neighbors weren’t picking up their pet waste, she decided to do something about it.

“We did ‘Scoop the Poop’. We had a non-profit community engagement campaign to educate our residents about the truly harmful effects of pet waste when left on the floor and left uncollected,” Streitfeld said.


PPE videos were produced and signage put up to carry the message home – pick up your dog poo. The health of our bay depends on it.

Miami-Dade Chief Bay Officer Irela Bague highlights why your dog’s poop can be fatal, no matter how far you are from the bay or shore.

“Little nitrogen bombs,” she said. “Okay, that ends up back in our storm drains or in the canals and washes out into Biscayne Bay.”

And that’s something not enough South Florida puppy parents realize.

“Even something as small as picking up your dog poop can actually improve Biscayne Bay’s health. Well, then that’s another reason to do it, right? Be a polite neighbor and a good environmentalist. That sounds perfect,” said one resident, Ursulla Henninger.

North Bay Village kicks off its poop-free 2022 campaign on Sunday, April 24th.

Miami Lakes will also launch its responsible pet ownership campaign by early summer.


North Bay Village kicks off its poop-free 2022 campaign on Sunday, April 24th. (WPLG)


North Bay Village Scoop the Poop Campaign:

The Best Biodegradable and Compostable Pet Waste Bags:


Clean Up After Your Pets Poster (WPLG)

Copyright 2022 by WPLG – All rights reserved.

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