Will Our Environment Ever Win With Diapers?

Will Our Environment Ever Win With Diapers?

Diapers have become a norm for a lot of moms. The usage of cloth diapers in Malawi is often done in rural areas and lower income homes. As the usage of disposable diapers increases in homes, environmental issues have also risen. Especially on issues of waste management.

As I start the Stories of Our World, I feel obliged to ask this question

Will Our Environment Ever Win With Diapers?

The invention of diapers was such a brilliant idea. It gave moms the chance to save time dedicated to washing. They have been very helpful to working moms who have so much on their plates. This eased their lives so much, mine included. No way are they cheaper than using cloth diapers, but the saving of time is a great compromise.

It is unfortunate that with the rising usage of disposable diapers, there is less awareness of their waste management especially in under-developed countries like Malawi. Currently, every way possible to manage them is not conducive for the environment.

Just how bad are diapers affecting the environment in Malawi?

tragic diapers disposal

If I was to tell you that you are likely to step on one in our townships, it would sound like a lie. But that is how bad our country is failing to manage the disposal of diapers. As a matter of fact, they become toys for dogs to play with. Considering we have dogs that loiter around, chances are high that used diapers end up on people’s verandas, even those without kids.

Some households resort to throwing them in their pit-latrines. This results in pit latrines being full way quicker than normal. Meaning new ones have to be dug just to accommodate this. Others will dump them on top of their roofs or even the pit latrine roof. This is sore to the eyes. unfortunately, they soak up more water during winter, dry up during summer, and create a shell over houses.

Another case is how they are carelessly thrown in the rivers. So many rivers have become dumping site, worst still, no one is punished for this. It has become a norm for one to walk to any river, and throw away used diapers. Most hope that once raining season begins, they will be washed away by the water.

What most people choose to ignore is that even though they are washed away, there are thrown into bigger water bodies. This becomes a problem for aquatic animals. Just imagine, we might be killing aquaman with our babies’ pants.

diapers in dedza

Burning them

A solution that some people seem to be adopting when it comes to management of disposable diapers is through burning. This requires that parents use parafin in order to set fire to them.

The downside to this is that we are potentially harming the ozone layer with their emissions. So basically, there is really no winning when it comes to using diapers.

Measures taken by commendable people

Where I stay now, the chief done commendable measures to take people to task with how the manage their waste. A rule that was set in place was that everyone needs to be accountable for the actions of their neighbor. We could also say that this is a bit of a witch-hunt, but it allows people to be accountable.

A reward of MK 30,000 ($30) is offered to anyone who reports those that dump used diapers in rivers, or anywhere else. While the culprits have to pay MK 50,000 ($50) for their case. It has forced people to dump them in the public bins, or to burn them.

I cannot lie and say that it is not also a recipe for enmity. Some feel betrayed by friends and family for being reported to the local authorities about their actions.

Overall, although disposable diapers have made life easier for parents, we are yet to see their wrath on our environment. But I could be wrong. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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1 Comment

  1. Disposing diapers has been a challenge in my country too. In my town people dump them anywhere. I believe that diaper and sanitary pads disposal should be the same. It shouldn’t be a public affair.

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