Date: 01 September
Cost of taking action: £/$/€ NIL
From our guest author Jasmin Harrison in Australia
Please don’t leave your dirty nappies on a beach
(Or anywhere else for that matter … it’s really gross! … Ed)
Unfortunately disposable nappies and disposable swim nappies have become a common item of litter found on beautiful beaches around the world.
A fun family day out at the beach often includes changing a nappy or two. Please make sure you head out prepared to properly dispose of your nappy and help out your fellow beachgoers, sea life and the environment.
Why is this a problem?
According to Wrap, more than 3 *billion* disposable nappies are thrown away every year in the UK alone!
(For our US friends, nappies = daipers … and imagine the numbers when you multiply this figure across all countries … Ed)
Some people are leaving them behind assuming that the nappy will break down over time, however standard disposable nappies can take up to 500 years to break down.
When left on beaches, not only do these nappies smell awful, they’re also a hygiene issue and they contribute significantly to microplastic pollution and plastic waste in our oceans. Plastic pollution is potentially fatal to sea life where animals becoming tangled in, or consume it. PlasticOceans.org report that as many as 1 million marine animals die as a result of plastic pollution every year.
As the plastic in nappies breaks down it becomes microplastics in the environment which are harmful to animals and people by entering our food chains.
What do to instead
Nappies are not recyclable and need to be disposed of properly in bins so that they end up in our proper waste management systems and off beaches and out of parks.
Alternatively, you could look at switching to reusable nappies, for example cloth nappies, or try a biodegradable option.
Whether you use disposable or reusable nappies, make sure on that on beach day you pack a plastic bag or secure container in which to store soiled nappies until you can find a rubbish bin or until you get home where you can clean or dispose of your nappies appropriately.
Don’t leave a nasty nappy litter problem for your children to clean up when they grow up.
Throw your dirty nappy in the nearest proper bin or put it in a bag or container until it can be cleaned or disposed of properly.
Image credit Josh Sorenson via Pexels