The Impact of Disposable Baby Diapers on the Environment: A Growing Concern in Indonesia


FOKUS HEALTH – Disposable baby diapers have long been hailed as a convenient and cost-effective choice for parents. However, what many may not realize is the detrimental impact these diapers have on the environment, particularly in Indonesia and the island of Java. In 2017, the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) revealed that approximately 750,000 infants lived along the banks of the Brantas River. Considering that each baby uses an average of four diapers per day, it can be estimated that three million baby diapers are used daily in this region alone.

Reports from detikcom indicate that baby diapers, predominantly made of plastic and fiber, are difficult to decompose naturally. If left unchecked, the accumulation of baby diaper waste can lead to environmental problems such as river blockages, ultimately resulting in flooding. In light of these concerns, it is crucial for parents to understand the proper disposal methods for baby diapers.

Proper Disposal of Baby Diapers

Dr. Citra Amelinda, a specialist in Pediatrics, explains the correct way to dispose of baby diapers. After emptying the baby’s waste into the toilet, the used diaper should be folded and placed in a plastic bag.

“Dispose of the baby’s waste in the toilet, then fold the used diaper and place it in a securely closed plastic bag. Finally, throw it in a designated trash bin,” she advises.

By following these steps, parents can ensure that used diapers are properly sealed and disposed of in an appropriate manner, minimizing their impact on the environment.

The Global Problem of Disposable Diaper Waste

The issue of disposable diaper waste is not unique to Indonesia. Other countries have also experienced the environmental consequences of widespread diaper usage in recent years. According to The Wall Street Journal, Saudi Arabia topped the list of countries with the highest diaper consumption in 2013.

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However, Saudi Arabia is not alone in this regard. The second-highest producer of diaper waste that year was Israel, followed by Ireland, Mexico, Argentina, and the United States in sixth place.

A report by Euromonitor International highlights population growth, increased income, and a desire for convenience as the primary factors driving the use of diapers in Saudi Arabia. “The growth has also been driven by mothers delaying toilet training due to their busy lifestyles,” the report adds.

The frequent replacement of diapers is a significant contributing factor to the growing problem of disposable diaper waste. However, it is essential to note that leaving diapers unchanged for extended periods can lead to discomfort, irritation, diaper rash, and other skin issues for infants.

So, how often should parents change their baby’s diapers? Let’s explore this further in the following section.

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