Residents get angry at the amount of Goose Poop accumulating in Aberdare Park

Residents get angry at the amount of Goose Poop accumulating in Aberdare Park

The Aberdare Festival took place on Saturday it was a lovely day as one councillor described it on social media “Lovely to see hundreds of visitors enjoying the sunshine at today’s Festival at Aberdare Park” but then others went on social media and described the state of the park explaining, “There’s no place to lay a picnic blanket or play ball without being surrounded by geese poo. Surely this isn’t healthy for children and visitors.”

AberdareOnline has been questioning the council for months regarding the amount of geese droppings that litter the park, the question is are geese droppings harmful to humans? The short answer is yes and the council is aware of this and the hidden dangers of goose droppings.

So why are there so many geese in the park, feeding waterfowl can artificially increase their population. Feeding also encourages waterfowl to “over-winter” thus interrupting their natural migration patterns. When they stay through the winter the result can be an unhealthy build-up of duck and goose poop. So why is the council encouraging more geese to come to the park by allowing the sale of bird food? The council’s excuse is if we don’t allow the sale of bird food people will give the geese bread which is bad for the geese.

 The council spend thousands on dog waste because it is harmful and a public health problem they supply dog waste bins and wardens the council have a separate Public Spaces Protection Order for Aberdare Park where dog owners MUST clean up their dogs’ mess immediately and dispose of it properly, dogs are banned from sports pitches as they should be. So why is the council allowing the feeding of wildfowl with the sale of birdseed and encouraging more geese to produce more excrement increasing the risk to public health?

The council who want to distance themselves from almost everything except collecting council tax this means parts of the Aberdare Park is now run by a charity called Friends of Aberdare Park they rely on grants and donations to operate the splash pad and other facilities. The council used to provide funding for running the paddling pools but it cut that service so the charity has to fund the splash pad somehow, with the sale of bird food is part of that funding, in 2021 bird food sales were £1,630 in 2022 Duck food sales £597-30.

Geese Take Over Public Spaces, Leaving Filth and High Maintenance Costs and that’s the case for the cash-strapped council at Aberdare Park the council’s answer is to keep feeding the geese.

The council explain what they do to clean up the volume of goose waste  

“The paths around the lake are blown every morning with a leaf blower to keep them clear”

So where is the goose poop blown to?

The use of a leaf blower to blow away goose poop is hazardous not only for the public but also the operator, large quantities of dried bird poop are disrupted, and particles or spores become airborne and cause irritation in the bronchial passage. Worse, this can transmit fungal diseases such as Histoplasmosis or Cryptococcosis.

“Mini road sweeper cleans and scrubs around the lake twice a week. The waste from the sweeper is recycled in dedicated recycling bays in our depot.”

Twice a week is unsatisfactory for the volume of poop a goose extracts in a day, an adult bird can poop around 2 pounds a day, cleaning just around the lake only covers a small area of the park what about the rest of the park play areas grassed areas. Geese do not urinate like mammals do. They produce urates, which mix with the waste produced by the digestive tract in the cloaca. Therefore, most goose droppings will be a combination of digestive and urinary waste. The white portions of goose poop are the urates, with the rest being the faeces.

“The area around the café and the lake is jet-washed weekly by the park rangers. This is done outside of peak hours to reduce aerosol.”

Jet-washing bird droppings is again hazardous the Health and Safety Executive discourages this practice.

We requested information from the council under the Freedom of Information Act:

Access to the risk assessment and method statement concerning the removal of goose excrement from footpaths and grassed areas COSHH details, and method statements for the cleansing of goose excrement from children’s grassed play areas and play equipment within the park.

The council responded on May 23 2024: 

With regard to the two bullet points above the situation remains the same as previously stated.  No recorded information is held and it is something that is currently being considered.

Another question was about kids’ play equipment:

We asked for clarity on the frequency of equipment cleaning, assuming there’s a systematic record-keeping mechanism.

The reply: There is no scheduled timetable for cleaning play equipment, as there’s never been an issue with goose excrement being present on play equipment.  We are seeking information from other local authorities with regard to their practices, if any.

We asked the question: Drawing attention to the prevalence of goose droppings across the park, I emphasize the potential risks posed to dog owners and their pets. Given the health implications, I advocate for the dissemination of information to park visitors regarding these hazards. We asked about the council’s intentions regarding the installation of signage addressing these concerns and the cessation of the sale of bird food that attracts geese to the park.

The reply from the council: There is no intention to install new signage at present.  The sale of food has previously been discussed and it was decided not to stop this currently as visitors then bring loaves of bread which causes far more of an issue and is extremely difficult to police.

The council said there are 150 Canada Geese visit the park without the other wildfowl the park as with dog waste the council could add to the Public Spaces Protection Order for Aberdare Park not to feed the waterfowl in the park, geese waste is just as dangerous as dog waste both equally a risk to public health.

The council demand you clean up after your dog immediately, but the council don’t do this with goose poop the council employing double standards in the park one rule for dog owners and another for the council and goose poop is bad for your dog.

The park is for the relaxation of residents it is a beautiful area, not a bird reserve; we have Dare Valley Country Park Cwmbach Wetlands and the lake at Abercwmboi where wildfowl can gather. 

Abercwmboi Lake image by Dean Johns

Aberdare Park Boating Lake image Darren Wyn Rees 

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Team @ AberdareOnline

Team @ AberdareOnline

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