‘Soiled diapers a health time-bomb’
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.”