The dreaded M-word. The proverbial ‘interval’ 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, ladies’s psychological well-being and the non-biodegradable waste that’s generated yearly are a few of these topics that demand speedy consideration. This World Conservation Day (July 28), let’s discuss sustainable sanitary merchandise and each lady’s proper to bleed with dignity.
“A report by WaterAid talked about that India has near 12.three billion disposable sanitary napkins to deal with yearly, majority of which aren’t biodegradable/compostable. On a mean, a menstruator makes use of round 21,000 pads in her lifetime which might be round 200 kg of avoidable waste,” informs growth skilled and motion community fellow at Youth ki Awaaz, Nitisha Pandey. “Altering behaviours and mindsets is a gradual and regular course of. One of many methods to go about it’s creating areas for consciousness and motion with the youth in communities — each rural and concrete,” she provides.
Cash is a restraint with which many ladies are confronted. In rural and concrete slums, there’s all the time a battle to rearrange the following meal, not to mention take into consideration spending cash on one thing which is taken into account unnatural and unhealthy. “Even within the city slums of locations like Mumbai, ladies should not privy to pads or menstrual hygiene,” says social employee Anurag Chauhan of the WASH venture by NGO People for Humanity. Stigmas, mixed with monetary restraints, additional add to the uncared for state of menstrual well being. “With the intention to lower your expenses, these ladies don’t change their pads for six-seven hours, resulting in issues. Neglect about bamboo-based natural pads, when these ladies can’t even afford common pads value ₹30,” informs Chauhan.
As a part of the venture, his staff conducts workshops and coaching periods not simply on the bottom, but in addition on-line. “As a substitute of solely distributing pads, we educate these ladies to make fabric pads. We start by giving them pads in order that they’ve an understanding of it,” he provides. The venture is lively in six states and has employed ladies from the villages, making them financially self-sufficient. These reusable fabric pads last as long as 2-2.5 years and are available as a part of a package that has a cleaning soap bar. “The pads may be washed with cleaning soap and disinfectant. The perfect factor is they are often made at house,” he says.
Reusable options like menstrual cups are an environment-friendly possibility, however stay a comparatively unexplored product. “In comparison with disposable sanitary pads, reusable menstrual options are definitely a cheap possibility. I’ve discovered that utilizing a sustainable menstrual various may deliver down the funding in sanitary merchandise by roughly 60% yearly,” shares Pandey.
Learn: Sustaining menstrual hygiene in occasions of Covid-19
Gynaecologist and Obstetrician Dr Aruna Kalra says that whereas these reusable options supply eco-friendly options, sure precautions should be saved in thoughts whereas utilizing these. “Menstrual cups made with silicon or rubber are reusable. They lock the fluid till they’re faraway from the vagina. They need to be emptied after each 4-12 hours and washed them correctly with clear water. You will need to discover the precise measurement different in any other case it could trigger spillage,” she says.
Menstrual cups made with silicon or rubber are reusable.
Photograph: Sunil Ghosh/HT
Bamboo and different plant-based sanitary pads don’t include low cost and never many ladies can afford these, whereas the business ones are stuffed with chemical substances that are dangerous for the ladies. Kalra advocates the usage of cotton-based fabric pads. “They’re reusable and extra breathable than common sanitary pads. They’re simple on the pores and skin and don’t trigger allergic reactions. There are much less probabilities of pelvic an infection or urinary tract an infection (UTI),” advises Kalra.
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