Apparently the problem of “poop and run” has caused a city in Japan to pioneer new measures in hygiene protection. Izumisano, a city in Kansai in the Osaka Prefecture has created a smartphone app (the site is in Japanese) that allows pedestrians to take a photo of dog poop piles left on the street or sidewalk.
As resident dog owners have become more lax about poop-scooping, the city has sought means of implementing accountability and penalties for people who leave the unsanitary messes where they were disposed of. Originally, officials placed yellow cards next to covered waste pile, meaning to motivate individuals who had left the poop there to clean it up the next time they took their routine walk. Instead of merely removing the piles of poop, the city had hoped this method would train dog owners to take responsibility for their dog’s mess. If the yellow-carded poop remained untouched for a few weeks, sanitation workers known as “G-Men” would then throw them away. Currently, if an offending individuals is found walking away from his dog’s fresh poop-pile, he can be fined up to $10,000 yen (roughly $82).
Now, stakes have been raised as the first ever city-sanitation maintenance smartphone app is currently available for purchase. It is titled: Machi Repo Izumisano Osecho meaning “City Report Izumisano, Please Let Me Know!” The app allows Izumisano residents to post pictures of waste piles and any comments or details that might help authorities locate the pile or the dog’s owner. This will notify the “G-Men” who can track the poop using a GPS location data and online map system.
The city was quick to specify that the “G-men” sanitation workers are not able to pick up the poop immediately, but when an area is particularly heavily reported, the app would help the staff reprioritize their weekly cleaning routes accordingly. The app has informed sanitation workers greatly about the city’s most urgent needs. In 2012 when the “G-Men” first began working, there were over 1,000 locations they would frequently on a monthly basis. However due to the increased awareness, fines and this recent app, there are less than 300 locations that require their attention. Dare we hope, people are learning to clean up after their pets?
The app has been available for less than a month (launched August 20th) and people are consistently reporting poop piles, irresponsible pet-owners, as well as road repairs, disaster damage reports, all accompanied by pictures and GPS pin-point locations.
The Machi Repo Izumisano osecho app not only creates 1) a cleaner environment 2) better roads, parks, and sidewalks, 3) it also will help dog owners be held responsible for their actions. Ideally, the more effective this new “crackdown” will prove, the more pet owners will start taking initiative, picking up the poop 100% of the time themselves. It will be interesting to watch if this system takes off, by coming to urban areas in the United States, or if people will lose motivation and fall back into lazy habits. Can an “old dog” learn new tricks? Only time will tell.