Beach clean volunteers have blasted irresponsible dog owners after finding 61 bags of poo in their latest sweep.
The LOVEmyBEACH St Annes BeachCare group say the problem is increasing despite the installation of signs to warn dog owners not to let their pets pollute the beach and sand dunes.
The problem has grown since the council removed dog waste bins on the beach last summer due to the health risk posed to council staff emptying them. They replaced them with better bins on the promenade.
But the group of 20 residents who volunteer weekly to help keep the beach clean, say the bags and the dozens of instances of unbagged dog waste in the beach area is threatening the health of beach users swimmers and paddlers and the beach’s “good” reputation for cleanliness.
Dog owners are asked to put their bags in the nearest bin or take it home with them. Fylde Council upgraded bins on the promenade, increasing capacity and ensuring that all of them were able to accept dog poo.
Volunteer Ruth Booth said: “What would the beach look like if we didn’t pick up all these bags of dog poo?
“Residents need to realise that the council aren’t able to bring the bins back onto the beach and we’re not responsible for clearing up after others’ dogs either.”
Dog waste is dangerous to children playing on the beach as it can contain a parasitic worm which can cause toxocariasis leading to blindness.
St Annes is a bathing water beach, and in 2017 received a water quality rating of “Good”. But the volunteers say rising amounts of dog poo will eventually damage this rating.
Clean up coordinator Emma Whitlock said: “It’s disgraceful that a small number of dog owners ruin the beach for the many, and that it’s left to volunteers to pick up this many dog poo bags each week.
“There are plenty of bins on every entrance point to the beach so there is no excuse for dog walkers not to carry their dog’s mess to one.”