Sunday, August 15, 2004

India's government began distributing free condoms in the 1960s to slow population growth. A recent report says that only 25% of the 1.5 billion condoms manufactured each year in India are "properly utilized". What's interesting are all the cool things the condoms are being used for:

According to two university reports, rural villagers have used them as disposable water containers to wash, after relieving themselves in the fields. India's military have covered gun and tank barrels with condoms as protection against dust.

Of the 891 million condoms meant to be handed out free, a considerable proportion were acquired by road-building contractors who mixed them with concrete and tar and used the mixture to construct roads, rendering road surfaces smooth and resistant to cracks. Builders spread a bed of condoms beneath cement plastering on roofs, ingeniously preventing water seepage during the monsoon rains.

Weavers in Varanasi used around 200,000 condoms a day to lubricate their looms and to polish the gold and silver thread used to embroider the saris they produced. Sari maker Yusuf Bhai said they purchased the condoms from agents, who reportedly acquired them from agencies involved in family planning and AIDS prevention schemes.