• Germany's news in English
 

Dog poo biofuel to power Berlin buses

Published: 01 Apr 2009 12:59 GMT+02:00

According to the Berlin Animal Protection Agency, the city is home to at least 107,000 pooches. The average dog produces some 274 pounds of waste each year – which means that city sidewalks and parks are burdened with almost 30 million pounds of canine crap annually.

“It’s a menace and a health hazard,” Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development spokesperson Edeltraud Schauffel told The Local on Wednesday. “It’s sad that people don’t take more pride in their city, but we hope that the new programme will motivate people to make a difference in their urban environment.”

It is technically illegal not to bag Fido’s faeces in German cities, but notoriously poor Berlin just hasn’t had the resources to enforce fines – much less hire poop scoopers to maintain public areas, Schauffel said. But now the city has teamed funds from dog ownership taxes and the Transportation Department to come up with a unique strategy to clean city streets of both dog waste and smog – the composted pooch poo will be converted to biofuel to power new eco-friendly buses built by Daimler.

The programme, called “Poo Power Berlin,” will begin in three of Berlin’s largest parks, the Tiergarten, Volkspark Friedrichshain and Treptower Park. City workers will place compost bins around the parks, complete with biodegradable balsa wood spades for picking up the Hundescheisse. The bins contain environmentally friendly chemicals that will break down the waste into a sludge that will be periodically transported to biofuel processing facilities in the city's Marzahn district.

“There is some concern that the biofuel will emit an unpleasant exhaust smell from the new buses,” Schauffel said. “No one has ever attempted such an ambitious biofuel project before, but we’re confident we can make it work.”

If the project is successful after one year, the city plans to place the bins in a grid network across Berlin by 2012.

“Who knows? Maybe one day all of the city’s movements will be powered by dog waste,” Schauffler said.

As many readers no doubt have guessed, the above article is in honour of April Fool's Day and has very little basis in fact, barring the following exception:

Berlin really does have some 107,000 dogs who each produce 274 pounds of waste per year that ends up on sidewalks and in public areas - a nasty menace indeed.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
North Korea mistakenly outraged at Berlinale
Kim Jong Un has accidentally wounded his dignity while trying to stop his dignity being wounded. Photo: DPA

North Korea mistakenly outraged at Berlinale

North Korea turned harsh diplomatic language against Berlin's film festival in the mistaken belief that The Interview, the James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy about a murder plot against dictator Kim Jong Un, will be screened there. READ  

Let's officialize Muslim community: Berlin mayor
Muslims at prayer in Berlin's Sehitlik mosque. Photo: DPA

Let's officialize Muslim community: Berlin mayor

SPD party leader Raed Saleh wants to create a contract with the Muslim community similar to the one between the town hall and Christian and Jewish groups that grants them official status. READ  

Cities see slower house price growth
Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg. Photo: DPA

Cities see slower house price growth

A trend for ever-faster growth in house prices across Germany was reversed in 2014, as prices rose by four percent compared with seven the previous year 2013. READ  

Court probes abuse at Catholic boarding school
The monk at his court appearance in Munich on Thursday. Photo: DPA

Court probes abuse at Catholic boarding school

A monk and former teacher at a boarding school in the Bavarian alps pleaded not guilty on Thursday at his trial for abusing two pupils and attempted abuse of two more. READ  

'Fight harder' against corruption: activists
Bribery photo: Shutterstock

'Fight harder' against corruption: activists

Campaigners say the states can do more to fight corruption after a report showed that Brandenburg, Saarland, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hamburg had the highest numbers of cases. READ  

Renzi woos Merkel amid Florentine splendour
Angela Merkel and Matteo Renzi speaking in Florence. Photo: DPA

Renzi woos Merkel amid Florentine splendour

The eurozone's deep divisions were set to be given an airing in Florence on Friday as Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel days before crucial elections in Greece. READ  

Merkel offers Russia free-trade agreement
Photos: DPA

Merkel offers Russia free-trade agreement

Germany would be prepared to negotiate a free-trade agreement between the European Union and Russia as a way out of the deadlocked Ukraine conflict, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday. READ  

Get more 'gigaliners' on roads: Minister
Photo: DPA

Get more 'gigaliners' on roads: Minister

Environmentalists and train companies reacted with outrage to Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt's plan to allow more giant "gigaliner" trucks on motorways before they've passed a trial period. READ  

Police arrest suspect in asylum seeker murder
Demonstrators in Dresden with photos of murder victim Khaled Idris Bahray

Police arrest suspect in asylum seeker murder

Police in Dresden have arrested a man on suspicion of killing his flatmate, an asylum seeker from Eritrea, on Monday January 12th. READ  

Meet the women fighting German tabloid sexism
Photo: DPA

Meet the women fighting German tabloid sexism

After a false dawn for campaigners against daily topless models in Britain's Sun newspaper, The Local talks to the women campaigning against sexism in Germany's biggest-selling tabloid. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
The rise and spread of Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Photo: DPA
Politics
The Local's report from Pegida's largest ever demonstration.
Sponsored Article
Top-notch tech boosts bilingual schools
National
Six stories that will rock Germany this year
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Photo: DPA
National
What were your favourite news stories of 2014?
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

1,442
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd