More than 28 tonnes of dog faeces has been lifted from designated bins installed by the local council in Derry over a 12 month period.
The latest available figures from Derry City & Strabane District Council reveal that for the 2013/14 year, a total of 28.72 tonnes of dog fouling was collected from the city.
This is equivalent in weight to four African elephants or 5,500 cats.
The figures for dog foul and other waste collected by council workers were obtained by the Journal this week.
Council officials said that the tonnage in dog waste shows that most people are using the dozens of special red bins installed across the city’s public areas in recent years.
A spokeswoman for Derry City and Strabane District Council said: “Dog waste bins have been in operation across the district for many years and are well used by the majority of dog owners.
“Bins have been erected in those areas frequented by dog owners including parks, riverside walkways and green ways.
“Dog waste bins are considered during the development of schemes and projects with new bins erected in anticipation of demand.”
She added: “The majority of dog owners avail of the facilities provided and Council would encourage all dog owners to avoid fixed penalty fines by using the bins and to be mindful of others and clean up after their pets when using parks, walkways and public spaces.
Before it was wound up this year, Derry City Council developed a Responsible Dog Ownership Strategy, which has resulted in more people licensing their dogs and using facilities such as the dog foul bins.
People who allow their dogs to foul and don’t clean up after them can face a £75 fixed penalty notice, or in court a maximum fine of £2,500.
The figures obtained from the new council show that staff working in street cleansing in Derry lifted 2,538.16 tonnes of rubbish in 2013/14- around 50 tonnes more than in the previous year.
The amount of co-mingled waste lifted at the Civic Amenity sites meanwhile stood at 6,404.76 tonne, which was down by over 200 tonnes on the year before. Volumes of blue bin and black bin waste had both dropped locally by more than 2,000 tonnes.
In terms of black bin waste, 22,406.47 tonnes was lifted. Meanwhile only around a third of this in terms of weight- 6,378 tonnes- was lifted in blue bins in 2013/14. The Council said it did not keep figures for the amount of chewing gum lifted from footpaths across the region by the specialist Ban The Bubble teams.