As reported in a recent article in The Economist, Ron Gonen, New York City’s former Deputy Commissioner for Recycling and Sustainability (commonly referred to as the “Recycling Czar”) is hoping to launch a program called Sparky Power, to turn dog poop into energy for the city’s dog parks. Some (less than fun) facts about dog poop in NYC:
- The 600,000+ dogs in NYC produce over 100 thousand tons of poop a year
- It costs over $100 per ton to dispose of NYC’s dog poop in landfills,
Sparky Power would take dog poop, placed by owners into anaerobic digesters in city parks, then covert it into gas for lamps and other park power needs. The Economist says the NYC Parks Department is “pondering the proposal,” which would cost $100,000 for a pilot program in 3 city parks.
This program wouldn’t pick up any poop left on the sidewalks and streets, of course, a common 311 complaint which can be inputted online. This data is what was used to make the above map, showing a density of dog poop complaints in the Bronx, Upper Manhattan, and part of Brooklyn. As Brooklyn Magazine noted, the complaints are coming in “closer to Bushwick” and along the “Bushwick/Ridgewood border.”
As with all 311 complaint maps, the data doesn’t show exactly where the dog poop is but where the complaints are coming from–which can say just as much about the people in the neighborhoods.