In Taiwan, dog poop lottery cleans up city

Nadine Bells
Good News

Yes, you read correctly: "dog poop lottery."

In the Taiwanese city of New Taipai City, dog poop was a problem. The messes on city streets and sidewalks posed a health risk, especially to children, as ingestion of it could cause a severe roundworm infection.

So city officials came up with a unique street-clearing strategy. They would give out lottery tickets in exchange for bags of excrement. At the end of the program, the grand-prize winner took home the equivalent of $2,200 in gold. Eighty-five other prizes, including smaller amounts of gold and household appliances, were also included in the lottery.

The strategy was a success: over 14,500 bags of dog poop were cleaned up by city residents.

"The outcome of the campaign beat all our expectations," Lai Lien-chueh, from the city's environmental protection bureau, told AFP.

The BBC's Cindy Sui in Taipei says that the campaign has been credited with halving the amount of dog excrement in the city.

Now that the program is over, city officials hope people will still be clean-up conscious, even without the incentive of gold.