A scientific survey carried out by UCD has found that dog faeces on beaches are an important cause of water pollution.
Kerry County Council is to decide whether dogs and horses should be banned on its Blue Flag beaches from June 1st to September 15th between 11am and 7pm.
Fieldwork teams from the UCD Acclimatize Project carried out studies to determine the environmental impact of dog faeces on the quality of beach water.
On one day alone, researchers found the equivalent of half a stone of dog excrement on one Dublin beach.
Wim Meijer, professor of microbiology at UCD, says one piece of dog faeces found in sea water covering the area of the size of a tennis court would be enough for that beach to lose its Blue Flag status. This accolade is given to beaches which have met the highest standards of cleanliness and water quality.
The Blue Flag programme is administered in Ireland by An Taisce which supports the restricted access of dogs and horses on beaches during the summer on these grounds.
Professor Meijer outlines the dangers of dog faeces.
Professor Meijer says water samples analysed from Kerry County Council show pollution is also caused by heavy rainfall and spreading slurry.
He says educating the minority of dog owners who don’t pick up after their pets would have a significant impact as opposed to enforcing a blanket ban on animals entering beaches.
He explains how cleaning up after dogs can have a positive effect.