'Diapers associated with dirt'

HARARE - “Oh, nappies just don’t do for little Johnny. He only wears diapers. Nappies cause a little rash, you know.”

Remember when this used to be a fashionable line when diapers, commonly known as pampers locally, first made a wave?

They were a class symbol then. Not anymore.

Environmentalists are now seeing through the dirt associated with diapers.

From being a status symbol, diapers are now garbage havoc, an irritant to environment watchers.

They had their time in the sun once.

In the 90’s and at the turn of the decade, only the rich could afford to have their babies’ bums covered in the soft, “dry feel” material.

Most mothers could only settle for the traditional cloth napkins, if they were lucky to afford.

The more nappies a woman got at a baby welcome party the better.

That was until diapers became common fodder and gone were the days when nappies would pass through an entire family line.

What started as a great advantage to today’s mothers too busy to wash nappies has turned into a devastating environmental disaster.

Environmentalists say mothers are yet to master the art of disposing their babies’ poo.

The diaper garbage havoc comes at a time when local authorities are struggling to collect rubbish from residential suburbs.

In the end, poo ends up on a garbage heap somewhere.

Because it is not biodegradable, a bulk of garbage heaps now mainly comprise folded and unfolded diapers.

A walk through Harare and its suburbs can testify to that, of course at the hazard of being caught in a windy situation with a poo-stained diaper in your face.

*Bridget is Zimbabwe’s best environmental writer for 2012, according to the latest Njama awards. - Bridget Mananavire

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