The Rise Of Disposable Diaper Nappies In India May Be Pro Woman, But Against The Environment

by Swapna Harrison

In India, the role of women in the society is still a poor second. The general trend still remains that women should first become good homemakers and leave the jobs to men. Yes, you guessed right. This is an inflammatory statement for the feminist women in India who have fought fiercely for helping women find themselves and become economically self-sufficient.

However, this too comes at a cost. With the rapid degradation of the joint family unit and the disappearing of the ‘good and trustworthy’ domestic servant concept, the nuclear Indian families find themselves at a loss on how to care for their babies while both parents attend full-time jobs.

The solution is often found in using ready-made baby items that cuts drastically the labor time and effort for baby-related tasks such as food and hygiene. Here in India you will find infant/baby milk-formulas for food and disposable diaper napkins for hygiene.

Previously the food was meticulous cooked by the mother, or grandmother out of fresh vegetables and grains. For hygiene, old cotton garments were torn and stitched into triangular washable cotton diaper napkins.

Disposable diaper nappies are a great convenience. They do reduce the baby hygiene job of a working mother. However, their disposal is slowly becoming a huge problem. In India there are about 55 million under-two aged children. Out of these about 2% use disposable napkins, that makes for about 1.10 million children. Wow! That’s a huge number.

Imagine the landfill created by the disposed napkins in India, where garbage disposal is still very critical.

In India, leading disposable napkins brands predict a market growth of 10-12% in the next decade. Now look at some statistics – a baby uses about 5,000 napkins until he/she is completely potty trained. That would result into an unimaginable mountain of non-biodegradable waste.

Is this really worth it?

Should we simply outlaw disposable diaper nappies to save us from ourselves?

-Swapna H.

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