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Improper disposal of menstrual pads and diapers plague Nairobi

By Sammy Waweru December 13th, 2023 2 min read

Nairobi County residents are raising alarms about the escalating problem of improperly disposed used menstrual pads and baby diapers, creating a menace in dumpsites and along the roads.

Menstrual pads, essential for women during their menstruation, and diapers, crucial for containing waste from newborns, are contributing to environmental degradation in Nairobi as they are carelessly discarded.

Despite the undeniable benefits of these products, their improper disposal has become a nuisance in various Nairobi estates, including Zimmerman, Roysambu, Kasarani, Mwiki, Githurai, Kahawa West, Kahawa Wendani, Sukari, Mwihoko, Mathare, Kariobangi, and slum areas.

Locals are expressing concern over the increasing litter of menstrual pads and diapers in dumpsites and along the roads, posing environmental and health risks.

Phaustine Omutere, a Zimmerman resident, emphasized the severity of the issue, stating, “They are scattered in every trash heap and along the roadside.”

Esther Mbabu, another Zimmerman resident, voiced the environmental safety concerns, calling it a “catalyst for the outbreak of dangerous diseases associated with the environment.”

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The situation is particularly alarming behind rental houses, where used products are being carelessly discarded. This poses not only an environmental hazard but also potential health risks, especially for children who may come into contact with the waste.

Simon Muturi, a Kahawa West resident, highlighted the risk to children, saying, “For young children who play outside without distinguishing between garbage heaps and a playground, it poses a health hazard to them.”

If left unaddressed, this improper disposal could lead to disease outbreaks such as Cholera and Typhoid, as these products find their way into drains that distribute water.

Landlords and caretakers of rental premises have waste collection plans in place, with service providers responsible for collecting garbage weekly. However, some tenants face challenges in making payments, leading to illegal disposal practices.

Samuel Kamau, a waste collection service provider along Thika Road, urged the government to enforce laws and take disciplinary action against those breaking the rules to preserve the environment.

During visits to various estates, including Zimmerman and Roysambu, Nairobi News observed the validity of the complaints as used menstrual pads and baby diapers were found strewn all over.

The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has the responsibility of ensuring a tidy environment and enforcing laws against those contributing to environmental degradation.