Hyderabad: It will take 500-800 years for the sanitary waste that people in this city generate to decompose thanks to the petroleum byproducts like polypropylene that are used to manufacture pads.
What makes matters more difficult is that citizens to do not dispose of their sanitary waste properly. “In our interactions with sanitation workers, we found that often unwrapped sanitary waste is found mixed with kitchen waste. It is inhuman to do so as the workers who handle the waste are exposed to health hazards,” said a zonal official from GHMC.
Another prevalent practice in the city is flushing pads down toilets. This is done as it is still a stigma to carry pads or dispose them of in public, the official adds.
Ten per cent of the 4,000 metric tonne of waste generated daily in the city is sanitary waste. This includes diapers and cotton that reach the landfill of the city.
The GHMC at present does not follow a scientific method to dispose of sanitary waste, while segregation of sanitary napkins at the source level is a huge task.
One suggestion from experts is to look into a mechanism wherein used pads are wrapped in special covers or coloured packets so that they serve as an indication for sanitation workers.
While disposal of sanitary napkins continues to be unscientific despite the guidelines of the Pollution Control Board, awareness about modern bio-degradable options for managing menstruation continues to be abysmally low.
“The government should take up awareness drives on options like cloth pads, menstrual cups and biodegradable sanitary pads on a regular basis. Currently, mostly NGOs are taking this up,” said Mahalakshmi, who has been running awareness campaigns in the city about reusable cloth napkins....