, Salem, MA


April 1, 2013

Letter: Dog waste polluting our waters


So what is the connection of all of this to climate change? The reason I wanted to write this letter last summer was that we had some large thunderstorm events that produced torrents of water. We have had stronger-than-normal nor’easter rainstorms and snowstorms, as well as other storms over the past few years. This is sometimes (unfortunately) referred to as an “increase in wacky weather” by the news media, but in actuality, the climate (computer) models that are used to research the possible impacts on weather events due to global warming climate change have long predicted that storms would be more intense, producing extreme amounts of precipitation in comparison to past “normals” of weather events. This means that large precipitation-producing events will be more common with climate change. Storms that in the past might have been a “once in a decade,” “once in a half-century” or “once in a century” event will be more common. When larger rain events occur in an urban or suburban area, there is more surface runoff generated, which can transport dog waste more easily from a tree lawn into a storm drain and to our coastal waters.

I really do hope that dog owners will be more responsible this coming spring and summer. I also hope that other dog owners will pick up the dog wastes of other dogs when they can. I cannot pick up the dog wastes left by other dog owners every time that I walk my dog, but I try to do it when I can.

John Hayes


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