The worsening dog waste dilemma in Britain: Plastic bags hanging from trees

Name: Dog poo trees.

Age: The trees have been around for ages, as have the dogs. The dogs have always defecated. The feces trees are relatively recent, and have been especially abundant since Covid …

I’m sorry, did you just say… Yes, trees adorned with little black bags (other colors are available) full of canine excrement.

Oh no! I know those trees; we have them in our park. It’s disgusting – why do people do it? Emma Powell of Keep Britain Tidy told the Telegraph that the increase has something to do with dog walkers not wanting to touch the bins, having become more aware of germs during the pandemic. “There is this element of revulsion and disgust because they are overly concerned about bacteria,” she said.

So the bags get hung or flung instead? And that’s not revolting or disgusting at all! Well, quite.

I imagine this is mainly an urban issue? Afraid not. The other day in the New Forest, a ranger named Naomi picked up 63 poo bags within 400 meters of the car park – which has a bin.

I bet that’s not what Naomi signed up for, to be a human pooper scooper. And there are serious ecological issues, too. “If left, it may harm wildlife and livestock, pollute our waterways, impact soil ecology and wild plants, or just spoil someone else’s day!” @newforestranger wrote on X.

To be fair, there is a lot of crap on there these days. Stop it. “Please #BagItBinIt,” the post continues. “The ‘bin it’ part is essential – bags kill animals.”

And the person who left it there probably calls themselves an animal lover. There is a dark irony there, I guess. Kingley Vale national nature reserve near Chichester has also been pointing out how dog waste can affect delicate ecosystems – chalk grasslands in its case. It has shared pictures of hanging bags and even issued a “plea from the trees”.

“Don’t hang your poo on us! We’re not some kind of sick scatological Christmas trees.” Actually, a litter picker in Evesham named Laura Van Toller made the same connection, rewriting the 12 Days of Christmas with the line “Six dog poo bags hanging in a tree”.

Very good. She also pointed out that when dog walkers leave bags of poo around the place, “they are doing more harm than if they had just left the poo”.

If only someone – Keep Britain Tidy, say – had a nice little slogan to help us remember. Guess what? It does: “There’s no such thing as the dog poo fairy.”

Noooo! We won’t tell the kids, promise.

Do say: “Hashtag bag it bin it #BagItBinIt.”

Don’t say: “How old were you when you stopped believing in the dog poo fairy?”

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