Cape Town - The Scarborough Environmental Group said that environmental sustainability in local communities was achievable with its Dog Poo Worm farming initiative, where the group collects dog poop at beaches and uses it to create compost for planting trees.
The group was established four years ago and has since made a lasting impression with its drive to promote environmental sustainability in both their community and in the city.
Co-founder and beach management portfolio head Kelson da Cruz said the group consists of community volunteers who run a number of sustainability initiatives to reduce their environmental impact.
“A few of our initiatives include an eco brick station, a food garden, pollinator awareness, microplastic awareness, rain-water harvesting and worm farming kitchen waste that reduces our impact on landfill.”
The group's education head Hannah Hopper said anything that was organic could be composted and dog poo was no exception.
“The benefits of using dog poop are twofold. First, less waste ends up going to landfill.
“This is good because we have a landfill crisis and organic matter like dog poo contributed to leeched and methane gas pollution, which is 20 times more warming than carbon dioxide,” said Hopper.
“Secondly, we are turning free “waste” into a useful resource for planting indigenous trees.“
Da Cruz said that Dog Poo Worm farming was a natural process and a great way to look after the environment, especially if people were interested in reaching zero waste status.
“We have marked containers at beaches where people can deposit their dogs’ poop, which then gets collected and dropped off at the Scarborough Bio Dynamic Centre, where it goes through the process of becoming this beautiful black compost, or black gold as it is sometimes referred to as,” Da Cruz said.
The group currently uses the compost made from dog poo exclusively to plant trees, while the organic food waste collected is used to nurture the food garden at their Bio Dynamic Centre environmental projects. It has hosted sessions promoting environmental education in the community.
Da Cruz said that every community in Cape Town should have an environmental conservation group to ensure effective waste management and promote environmental sustainability.
Hopper added: “This model has been mimicked in Fish Hoek and Noordhoek with less success.
“It is important to note that each community will have its own needs, resources and behaviour and a community-based project needs to reflect that accordingly.”
“In a time like this where we are experiencing climate change and so many other environmental challenges we need to work together,” Hopper said.
“As the African proverb says, ’If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far, go together’.”