On Saturday, July 13th, Paws of SW, the local community group formed to help bring a dog park to SW DC, organized a “Poop Patrol and Neighborhood Trash Pickup.” Members of the group met at the SW Duck Pond at 6th and I St to start the morning off with coffee and bagels and then broke up into three groups of two to begin cleaning up the neighborhood. Over a period of about two hours, the volunteers covered an area ranging from 7th St, to the Waterfront, to Lansburgh Park.
“Over the past year, it has become apparent that we have a real ‘poop’ problem in SW,” said Hannelore Myers, a founding Paws of SW member. “While Paws of SW members are diligent about picking up after their dogs, we felt that since we are the only dog community group in the neighborhood, it was important for us to try to do something to address this issue.”
Paws members decided that simply picking up poop was not enough; instead they wanted a way to remind dog owners about the importance of keeping our community clean. They bought plastic stakes and created pink cardboard “Oops, You Forgot Your Poop!” signs that members stuck in the ground anywhere they found discarded dog poop. Each sign also included information about Paws of SW and committed to removing the signs by July 21st.
“After all,” one Paws of SW member said “We don’t want to contribute to the litter problem, just hopefully remind everyone about the importance of picking up after his or her dog.”
Paws of SW volunteers soon figured out that the neighborhood’s problem with “poop” is actually dwarfed by its problem with trash.
“While we always intended to pick up poop and trash during the neighborhood cleanup, it was amazing how much more trash we found on our streets and grassy areas, compared to poop” explained Darren Seepersad, another founding member of Paws of SW. He continued, “In less than two hours, our group filled up over nine large garbage bags, mostly of trash…It’s really amazing what you find on the street when you walk looking at the ground!” After regrouping at the Duck Pond, Paws of SW volunteers traded stories about some of the “strangest” items found on the ground. The variety of litter on our streets apparently ranges from diapers to clothes, to used condoms and even broken electronics. Also noted was how discouraging it was to find so much trash in the direct vicinity of trash receptacles.
Paws of SW is dedicated to the SW neighborhood and strives to make it a better, cleaner, and safer place for all SW inhabitants, both 2 and 4 legged. Based on the success of this “Poop Patrol,” the group intends to organize another effort for early September.
Jessica Blond Seepersad is a founding member of Paws of SW. If you would like to learn more about Paws of SW and our efforts to build a dog exercise park in Lansburgh Park, please visit www.pawsofsw.org. We are also on Facebook and hold monthly meetings the first Monday of every month. Meeting locations and more information can be found by emailing SWdogpark@gmail.com. In the meantime, please “Don’t forget your poop!”
By: Jessica Blond Seepersad