Chennai: Faced with huge waste management problem of sanitary napkins due to polythene material, reusable sanitary pads made of organic matter offer sustainable solution to make menstrual hygiene accessible and affordable for women.
Menstrual educators and experts discuss about sustainable menstrual hygiene with reusable sanitary pads on account of Menstrual Hygiene Day.
Considering the immense non-biodegradable waste generated by disposable sanitary pads every month, sustainable menstrual hygiene in India is possible only with reusable pads made of organic materials, said Anju Bist, co-creator of Saukhyam Reusable Pads.
There are 355 million menstruating women and girls in India but, as per the National Family Health Survey (2015-2016) data, only 57 per cent of them in the age group of 15-25 years have access to hygienic products to manage their menstruation. However, it is estimated that each disposable pad has the equivalent of four plastic bags in it and will take 500-800 years to decompose.
Medicos say that most disposable pads use cellulose fiber as the absorbent material, while the bleaching of this to obtain pure white colour leads to the presence of trace amounts of harmful dioxins on the pads. The skin in the vaginal area is highly permeable. Anything that is in constant contact with the skin is likely to end up in the bloodstream too and can cause various health issues including cervical cancer. “Investments are needed so that eco-friendly reusable pads can be made available to people at affordable prices. There is a need to generate awareness among the masses and make these products available in mainstream shops. Reusable pads made of organic materials are not only cost-effective but are eco-friendly, making menstrual hygiene accessible and affordable,” said Anju Bist.