Dr. Gary O’Bireck
Designed to ease the handling of doggie doo, and to make city dog parks cleaner and easier to maintain, the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario has installed the new Sutera Dog Waste Containment System. As reported in Niagara This Week, rather than having dog owners scoop and deposit their pet’s waste in regular garbage bins, thereby creating unwanted odor and potential insect infestations, this new system collects it in two subterranean concrete chambers. Attractive bright green receptacles allow waste wrapped in biodegradable bags to drop into the chambers that are conveniently positioned where garbage bins used to be. This cooler environment removes offensive odors from the surface while reducing the daily labor-intensive activity of emptying smelly garbage bins. Installation of these in-ground containment systems cost Niagara Falls less than $6,000 and can each hold 542 litres of dog waste. A vacuum truck will frequently remove this organic matter, and rather than having it end up in local landfill sites, it will eventually be converted into clean and renewable energy. After a waste-management biosphere is constructed closer to the Niagara region, collected dog waste will be converted to fertilizer and biogas, a clean and renewable energy source.
Similarly, across the Atlantic, English inventor Paul Harper has created a unique green mechanism that resembles an enormous washing machine and a weather station. As outlined in the Guardian, it is England’s first street lamp powered solely by dog waste. Dog walkers place their pet’s waste in the machine, after which it breaks it down with microorganisms in its anaerobic digester. Methane gas is produced to fuel the light. Fertilizer is a by-product. Ten bags of dog waste can power the light for two hours. “The gas light captures people’s imagination and shows them dog poo has a value,” says Harper. “As a result, we get it [poo] off the ground, into a receptacle, and producing something useful.” Multiplying this idea enough to light city parks could be a next logical step.