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Environmental impacts of disposable diapers and sanitary towels

Much of what we buy and use are disposables. From medical and electronic waste to kitchen and dining products, the list goes on.

Throwaway products are usually made from paper, plastic and cotton, but plastic items are by far used the most.

Though some disposables can breakdown rapidly others like throwaway diapers cannot.

Since disposable diapers became commercially available forty years ago,

Mothers have continued to enjoy the convenience of using them. Similarly menstruating women when using disposable sanitary pads and tampons are at ease with the comfort and flexibility they offer. But the negative impacts on the environment of using these disposal items are being questioned by environmental experts across the world

Dr Emmanuel Iyayi is an environmental scientist. He stated that: ‘although the benefits of using these readily available products are no doubt useful, the environmental impacts that they give rise to are a real threat, mainly due to them being non-biodegradable and decaying into toxic waste over a period of time’. This creates many additional health hazards in such places as landfill which can lead to both acute and chronic health effects.

Dr Iyayi commented that African scientists need additional resources and funding to support research and development to mitigate the risks of this very real issue.


‘We need to develop alternative products that can be used by the population. These need to be low risk and environmentally friendly. Engaging manufacturers and suppliers at the early stages of development is essential to finding an environmental friendly solution to this very real environmental issue’


Hauwa Momoh is a geologist at the landfill site. She said the Waste management Authority is running an experimental project that utilises the methane gas, a by product of the decaying material, in an attempt to generate electrical power.


Environmental critics say that until our everyday culture changes and we start to cultivate an eco-friendly environment, we are jeopardising future generationsenvironment,

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