“Operation Yellow Chalk” is making waves for how incredibly simple yet effective it is at getting people to pick up after their pet.
I grew up in a home where we always had at least one dog or cat around, and I couldn’t imagine life without a furry companion by my side. The one thing I could for sure do without, though, is the chore of picking up the “presents” they leave behind. I can’t say I’ve ever met anyone who enjoys the task either, but it comes with the territory of pet ownership and is just something you learn to deal with…nnless you’re one of those uncouth barbarians who lets their dog do its business while out for a walk, and then leaves it, walking away and ignoring your duty as a pet parent.
Here in Japan, most dog owners are fairly diligent about cleaning up after their pooch – bringing along special bags to pick up and dispose of solid waste, and even carrying along a bottle of water to wash away their dog’s urine from the pavement. But there are still a number of people who think they can get away with shirking any responsibility of cleaning up what their pet leaves behind.
The city of Uji in Kyoto Prefecture has started taking measures to counter this problem of improperly discarded doo-doo, which it calls “Operation Yellow Chalk”. The measure is simple – anywhere that dog poop has been left behind, the excrement gets circled with some bright yellow chalk, and the date is written next to the scene of the crime. Seriously, that’s all it takes.
When the city first tried out this strategy last January, in a neighborhood where this was a particular problem, there were approximately 30 spots where feces had been left behind. Now, they report that you’ll find next to none. In other areas where the strategy has been implemented, the majority have reported a related decrease of people leaving behind their dog’s poop.
The Yellow Chalk method uses the bright-colored chalk to draw attention to the poop left behind, as a way to convey the message to the offending owner that their actions are a nuisance to others.
In addition to proving itself effective, the Yellow Chalk method is economical since it costs next to nothing. After word of Operation Yellow Chalk had spread, the city began receiving calls and emails from other municipalities regarding the strategy.
Netizens are impressed by the method’s simplicity and effectiveness:
“All you do is circle it with chalk and write the date? I wanna try this next time I see someone has left their dog’s poop.”
“I guess this works because they mostly take the same route on their walk, and it makes them realize they’re being watched.”
“This is likely effective since they realize people are watching, and that there’s a possibility they’ll be found out and punished.”
So dog owners out there, beware. If you won’t pick up after your pooch for the sake of others and for general cleanliness and good manners, then do it out of fear of being Yellow Chalked!