Dog fouling blights one in 10 Norhtern Ireland streets - report
Owners have been urged to clean up after their pets after it was revealed that dog fouling was located in one in 10 streets in Northern Ireland.
And it is a problem that has got worse in the last 12 months, a new report has found.
The 2019 Cleaner Neighbourhood report said that dog faeces was discovered on 10% of the 1,100 streets, roads and open spaces surveyed - an increase of 4% in the last year.
This makes it as common as any other type of litter found in our towns and cities.
Results haven't been this bad since 2015, environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said.
The charity's chief executive, Ian Humphreys, said that stepping in dog faeces is "one of the most disgusting things that can happen when you're out and about".
He added: "It carries serious health risks too, especially for children who can lose their sight simply because of a dog owner's laziness.
"The reputation of the vast majority of dog owners, who pick up after their pets, has been dealt a nasty blow by these latest figures.
"Our message is simple: pick up after your dog and put it in the bin or be ready to pay the fine."
In 2017/18 a total of 347 fixed penalty notices were issued to dog owners, resulting in fines of at least £50.
The dog fouling was linked to the wider litter issue as councils launched new engagement schemes to tackle the problem.
The total number of fixed penalties for littering was down to 2,902 from 3,158 the previous year.
One scheme, Green Dog Walkers, encourages dog owners to take a pledge to clean up after their dogs and encourage others to do the same.
Businesses in some council areas have made a commitment to move away from single use plastics and replace them with more sustainable options.
The impact that volunteers are making on the plastic problem is "priceless", Mr Humphreys said.
During the Big Spring Clean 553,571 volunteers got involved with cleaning up their local areas removing over 800 metric tons of rubbish.
A further 20,640 volunteers also got involved in cleaning up their coastline during Clean Coasts Week.