Using all public areas as a giant dog-toilet
(Read in my warnings and tips about the huge dog and horse dung problem in Monster in the town and on the beach.)
I naively thought that since dogs were sometimes allowed on the beach here, their owners would appreciate this priveldge and clean up after them, but it is littered with dog (and horse) faeces. I left the beach, cursing irresponsible tourists and feeling sorry for the local people, whose beach had been ruined.
But as I walked around I saw dog mess everywhere, in the town and on the coastal paths, in car parks, on verges, on the pavements and outside a Kindergarten. It was early in the tourist season, the campstie were I was staying was quite empty and there weren't many tourists around. I started to think that this problem wasn't due to the tourists. And with a population of under 15,000 I began to wonder if every local person in Monster was letting thier dog dump in public.
Sadly, I think this is the case. Here's a little insight into the local attitude to dog waste...
I was having problems understanding the rules for dog access on the beach and a friendly local helped me. She then told me that there was a "dog dune" not far away and that my dog could play there anytime and how great it was for dogs. I thought, "Fantastic, that's where the locals go. It'll be much cleaner."
When I went to the dune I found less of a dog dune and more of a dog toilet. It was a fenced in area next to the dyke beside the campsite and it was absolutely covered. I was already thoroughly p****d off because of all the crap in the town and the beach and asked one of the dog owners there if there was anywhere we could go to play that was clean. She said "here". I pointed out the crap, and asked why no-one picked it up she said "It's only for dogs, they are allowed. If you don't like it you can go somewhere else." I said I would, except all the other areas were coverd in it too. She shrugged. I said that were I come from, and eveywhere else I've been, most people clean up after their dog. She shrugged again. I said were I come from you get fined for that. She laughed and said "Here too, but not really." Hilarious. Behind her were several dogs and their owners merrily playing in the dune-toilet.
I assume she was right about dogs being allowed to do thier business in the dune. I assume the local council set aside this area in an attempt to reduce the mess in the rest of the town. I assume Monster is populated by people who didn't realise that dogs need to relieve themselves until they had one, and then need to use a dog-toilet area instead of picking it up. What I can't work out is why anyone would think this was a nice place to take their dog to play. And why they would recommend it to a visitor to their town. If this was my town I would be ashamed of it.
Two days later I tried my dog on the beach again, this time closer to the sea where most of the poo had been washed away by the tide and early enough in the morning so there wasn't a fresh crop. (Somewhere in the north sea there must be a floating island of Dutch dog poo) With my husband keeping an eye on him too, and a giant ball filled with smelly dog treats to distract him, this just about worked - he only got hold of one piece of poo this time and we persuaded him to drop it. On the way home we saw 3 people with 2 dogs and watched as the bigger one did a giant crap on the steps up to the beach. They walked on and left it. I went to them and offered them one of my bags. They didn't want it, and the owner of the dog said "No way I do this" when I told him to pick it up. I aksed them why no one-one picked up after their dogs and they said there was lots of room it didn't matter. The turd they left was right beside a bench on the centre of the main steps to the beach from the campsite. I will post a photo of the owner (and the turd), as well as photos of the beach and a video of the steps leading up to it, when I get home. (I told the owner I had taken his picture and he said he didn't care if I put it on the web, so he has given me permission.)
It seems that dog faeces has become so normal here that people like playing in it in their free time, and actually walk to a special area to do so and let their dogs crap in the middle of a path that they themselves probably use every day. It was cold when I was here, but the "dog-dune" and the steps on the beach are right beside a campsite and it must stink in hot weather.
I went around Monster one evening looking for something to do. It was dead. There were just a few people trimming their hedges. I admired their perfect gardens, their shiny cars, and the dog turds reflected in the sheen. I imagine people here take their dogs out to crap, then go home and lock themselves in for the night away from it all.
This could be a nice area for natives and for tourists if the local people would join the rest of the world in thinking that faeces in public is not healthy. I was only here for 4 days - and on 3 of these days I drove out of the area to find somewhere clean. I feel sorry for anyone who lives here permenantly. Both because of the state of the town and because they have reached a mental state where this kind of thing is normal.
Some people in the world have a daily struggle to live hygienically and avoid sickness and disease. In the third world streets are dirty because of lack of infrastructure, overcrowding and poverty. People walk miles for clean water, and wash themselves and their clothes when and where they can, no matter how much effort it takes. They would kill for the luxury of having a clean space to live, where all you have to do, having chosen to own a pet and being able to afford it, is bend down a few times a day wiith a plastic bag.
I know this was a rant, but I feel like ranting. I need to rant about this. Maybe there's a Monster native who'd like to rant right back at me with some explanation?
- Travel with Pets
Greenhouses and horticulture
Monster is the North-Western corner of the "Westland". This is the largest concentration of greenhouses in the world and has the highest average crop-result per year per square metre. It's quite amazing to see this enormous glass city that stretches out between Hoek van Holland (Europoort), The Hague and Delft. It's by the way, with sunshine, clearly visable from space as a huge mirror (so the Chinese great wall is not the only human-made object that one can see from up there).