Pet waste left on the street or lawn does not just go away or fertilize the grass. Rain washes pet waste down storm drains and into waterways like rivers, bays, and beaches. This can make people sick from salmonella, E. coli, and other infections. Pet waste is very toxic—the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that waste produced by just 100 dogs in two or three days (or one weekend) can contain enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay to swimming and shellfishing. Pet waste also provides a nitrogen source for algae blooms, which deplete the water of oxygen and can make people and animals sick.
When walking your pet, take a bag with you for quick waste pick-up. It helps to keep a supply of bags near your dog leash and to tie the bags on the leash if you don't have a pocket or pack. Consider re-using plastic newspaper bags or bread bags. Use the bag to pick up the waste, and tie it closed. When at home, long-handled “pooper scoopers” available at pet stores make it easy to pick up after pets without stooping over.
Place sealed bags of pet waste in the trash. It may help to double bag dog waste or kitty litter. Do not throw waste near or into storm drains, and do not dump kitty litter outside. Do not flush pet waste down your toilet.
Don't let your pet pollute, and encourage those around you to be responsible pet owners, too.