Irresponsible pet play time can lead to long-term environmental impacts

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Many of us enjoy playing fetch with our four-legged best friend at the park. However, irresponsible pet play time can lead to long-term environmental impacts. 

Just as it’s important to pick up pet waste to prevent poop from entering our lakes and streams, it’s important to properly retrieve and dispose of pet toys — especially plastic and rubber pet toys. 

A concerned park visitor recently posted a video showing a significant amount of pollution in the Sammamish River, most of it being abandoned tennis balls and dog toys found downstream of the Marymoor off-leash dog park in Redmond.

The issue isn’t confined to the Sammamish River alone; it has been documented in several other states and water bodies as well. 

Over time, the felt on tennis balls, comprised mostly of acrylic and nylon fibers, breaks down and releases microplastic fibers into the environment (Cross and Lindsey, 2007; Praminik et al., 2020). 

The rubber ball and other plastic and rubber toys also break down into macro and microplastics over time, which can have a lasting legacy in sediments and negatively impact wildlife and aquatic organisms (Praminik et al., 2020). 

The best practice for playing fetch on the water is to use environmentally safe toys, such as sticks or toys made with natural, biodegradable materials.

--Story and photo from King County Streams Monitor, Spring 2021


Anonymous,  July 7, 2021 at 9:46 AM  

Now that we have dog owners picking up their toys, can we get industries to back off on plastic in and on everything?? Can we have a source tax to cover the cost of remediation for the damage done everywhere by too much plastic?? How about getting your veggies in hemp bags or bread wrapped in rice paper?

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