The dreaded M-word. The proverbial ‘period’ to any dialog. The month-to-month phenomenon that comes wrapped in a black plastic bag and spoken about in hushed tones. As menstruation stays a stigmatised topic in our nation, it renders a plethora of topics taboo. Menstrual hygiene, girls’s psychological well-being and the non-biodegradable waste that’s generated each year are a few of these topics that demand fast consideration. This World Conservation Day (July 28), let’s discuss sustainable sanitary merchandise and each girl’s proper to bleed with dignity.
“A report by WaterAid mentioned that India has close to 12.3 billion disposable sanitary napkins to take care of every year, majority of which are not biodegradable/compostable. On an average, a menstruator uses around 21,000 pads in her lifetime which could be around 200 kg of avoidable waste,” informs improvement professional and motion community fellow at Youth ki Awaaz, Nitisha Pandey. “Changing behaviours and mindsets is a slow and steady process. One of the ways to go about it is creating spaces for awareness and action with the youth in communities — both rural and urban,” she provides.
Money is a restraint with which many ladies are confronted. In rural and concrete slums, there may be at all times a wrestle to rearrange the subsequent meal, not to mention take into consideration spending cash on one thing which is taken into account unnatural and unhealthy. “Even in the urban slums of places like Mumbai, women are not aware about pads or menstrual hygiene,” says social employee Anurag Chauhan of the WASH challenge by NGO Humans for Humanity. Stigmas, mixed with monetary restraints, additional add to the uncared for state of menstrual health. “In order to save money, these women do not change their pads for six-seven hours, leading to problems. Forget about bamboo-based organic pads, when these women can’t even afford regular pads worth ₹30,” informs Chauhan.
As a part of the challenge, his team conducts workshops and coaching classes not simply on the bottom, but in addition online. “Instead of only distributing pads, we teach these women to make cloth pads. We begin by giving them pads so that they have an understanding of it,” he provides. The challenge is energetic in six states and has employed girls from the villages, making them financially self-sufficient. These reusable material pads last as much as 2-2.5 years and are available as a part of a package that has a cleaning soap bar. “The pads can be washed with soap and disinfectant. The best thing is they can be made at home,” he says.
Reusable features like menstrual cups are an environment-friendly choice, however stay a comparatively unexplored product. “Compared to disposable sanitary pads, reusable menstrual alternatives are certainly a cost-effective option. I have found that using a sustainable menstrual alternative could bring down the investment in sanitary products by approximately 60% annually,” shares Pandey.
Read: Maintaining menstrual hygiene in times of Covid-19
Gynaecologist and Obstetrician Dr Aruna Kalra says that whereas these reusable features offer eco-friendly solutions, sure precautions have to be saved in thoughts whereas utilizing these. “Menstrual cups made with silicon or rubber are reusable. They lock the fluid until they are removed from the vagina. They should be emptied after every 4-12 hours and washed them properly with clean water. It is important to find the right size other otherwise it may cause spillage,” she says.
Menstrual cups made with silicon or rubber are reusable.
Photo: Sunil Ghosh/HT
Bamboo and different plant-based sanitary pads don’t come with low-cost and never many ladies can afford these, whereas the business ones are filled with chemical substances that are dangerous for the ladies. Kalra advocates the usage of cotton-based material pads. “They are reusable and more breathable than regular sanitary pads. They are easy on the skin and do not cause allergic reactions. There are less chances of pelvic infection or urinary tract infection (UTI),” advises Kalra.
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