We are a group of Sunrise viewers who have been shocked and disappointed to discover that your daily Weather reports are currently being sponsored by a disposable nappy company.
You have done a great deal of good over the past few months to highlight and publicise critical environmental issues through your Cool the Globe campaign, so it seems rather hypocritical that, despite promoting cloth nappies as a real alternative to disposable nappies on the Cool the Globe website, you are blatantly promoting the use of disposable nappies every day on your show.
Disposable nappies are a single-use product that contain toxins and plastics which can take up to 500 years to break down. If you think about it, this means that every disposable nappy that has ever been used is still sitting in landfill! Three million trees are felled every year to make disposable nappies in Australia and New Zealand, and the faeces and paper dumped into the earth combine to produce the greenhouse gas methane, thereby contributing to global warming. The untreated human waste deposited in landfill sites also contaminates ground water and creates a serious health risk to sanitation workers.
According to recent statistics published on the Australian Consumer Association's Choice website, it is estimated that using an average of six nappies a day over two and a half years produces around 734 kg of solid waste. Considering that parents using disposable nappies will go through around 8,000 disposable nappies for each of their children, that amounts to an incredible amount of plastic and solid waste taking up space in landfill. In fact, Australians dump over one billion disposable nappies (that's around one thousand nappies a minute) into landfill every year, and for a household using disposable nappies full time, those nappies will contribute to 50% of their total household waste.
Even though your Weather sponsor, Babylove, produce a range of so-called 'eco' nappies, these are only 66% biodegradable, and then only if they are composted. Even these slightly greener choices produce an unacceptable amount of waste.
The one heartening fact about this situation is that there is a good, viable alternative to disposable nappies. Many people think of the old-fashioned terry towelling flats and pins when they hear the term 'cloth nappies', but there are many types of new Modern Cloth Nappies (MCN) that have been gaining a steady and enthusiastic following over the past few years. MCN are shaped to fit like disposables, and are just as absorbent and easy to use, but are generally made from either cotton, hemp or bamboo, making them fully washable and reusable. MCN users choose cloth for a number of reasons, including the fact that they are a far more sound environmental choice, but also because they are better for their babies' health, cost a lot less and look better (!) than disposable nappies.
The environmental impact of cloth nappies is much less than that of disposables, even when the energy and water used in washing and drying cloth is taken into account.
As Sunrise viewers, we urge you to consider the mixed message you are sending out to your viewers by having a disposable nappy brand as a major sponsor of your show, while you are appearing to push a strong message about environmental responsibility.
We ask you to wake up and see the irony of having a company that produces such an environmentally-damaging product sponsor the Weather - the very thing you claim you are trying to save! And we ask you to consider looking for a more appropriate sponsor for your Weather segment if your Cool the Globe campaign really is more than just marketing hype.
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