‘Soiled di­a­pers a health time-bomb’

Lesotho Times - - News - Lim­pho Sello

A CALL has been made for Ba­sotho to prop­erly dis­pose of soiled di­a­pers to stem the preva­lence of dis­eases such as typhoid and diar­rhoea.

This was said by the Min­istry of Health’s Prin­ci­pal Health In­spec­tor Themba Fobo on Tues­day dur­ing a tour of il­le­gal garbage dump­sites in Maseru.

“Peo­ple throw away their ba­bies’ dis­pos­able nap­pies all over the place as long as it is not around their homes.

“Some of them dis­pose the di­a­pers at il­le­gal dump­ing sites which poses se­ri­ous health threats to so­ci­ety,” Mr Fobo said.

“What peo­ple don’t re­alise is that a baby’s stool might have bac­te­ria, and most of these di­a­pers are dumped near streams. When heavy rains come, the streams carry all the rub­bish and spread the bac­te­ria and germs which then lead to ill­nesses.”

He said dump­ing soiled di­a­pers at un­des­ig­nated spots ex­posed whole com­mu­ni­ties to var­i­ous dis­eases.

“Many peo­ple are ad­mit­ted at health cen­tres for ill­nesses such as typhoid and dysen­tery which, in most cases should be avoid­able,” said Mr Fobo, adding peo­ple carry the bac­te­ria on their shoes af­ter step­ping on con­tam­i­nated di­a­pers in the streets.

“Small chil­dren who are still crawl­ing are even more vul­ner­a­ble to such dis­eases be­cause they touch ev­ery­thing in the house and on the floor.

“You may be sur­prised when your child con­tracts diar­rhoea and won­der what caused it. Of­ten­times it is caused by sit­u­a­tions like that.”

He said the dump­ing of di­a­pers was not unique to Maseru, adding that they were also strewn along road­sides and the coun­try­side.

Asked about mea­sures that need to be taken to end the prac­tice, Mr Fobo said mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties should en­sure the per­pe­tra­tors are brought to book and hold more pub­lic aware­ness cam­paigns.

But ac­cord­ing to Maseru City Coun­cil (MCC) Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer Lin­tle Mo­er­ane, mea­sures are al­ready in place to ad­dress the chal­lenge.

“The prac­tice of dump­ing di­a­pers is un­ac­cept­able and it is dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand why any­one would de­cide to do this.

“We con­demn such be­hav­iour, and as we speak, there are mea­sures we have taken to ad­dress the is­sue,” Ms Mo­er­ane said.

“Start­ing from Fe­bru­ary 2016, we em­barked on an aware­ness cam­paign through ra­dio sta­tions and pub­lic gath­er­ings to ad­dress this be­havioural prob­lem.”

She said it had been dis­cov­ered some of the of­fend­ers throw the di­a­pers from mov­ing ve­hi­cles while oth­ers do it in the evening to avoid de­tec­tion.

“I fail to un­der­stand why some peo­ple throw the di­a­pers from their cars when they can go to a le­gal dump­ing site in Ha-tšosane,” Ms Mo­er­ane said.

“They can also con­tact peo­ple who col­lect rub­bish in the ar­eas they live to en­sure the refuse is dis­posed of prop­erly.”

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