It does not only take a wise step, to find a solution, it also takes a bold and innovative thoughts, and will to implement he same. Dr Amiben, with her team, did exactly the same, when she discussed and spread the awareness on sustainable menstruation, at 'Halla Bol', a social event organised on Sunday, 22/01/2016.
Dr Amiben yagnik is not a new name to Surat social circle, and to the readers of this blog. Below is the text, that explains the concept.
Green the Red- A Campaign to Spread Awareness on Sustainable Menstruation
Disposable Sanitary Napkins- An Impending Environmental Hazard :
Until a couple of decades ago, women in India used scrap cloth from old saris or towels during their menstruation. In a country where the bodily function of menstruation was and still is a taboo subject, with the accompanying shame, stigma and myths surrounding it, many women still reuse pieces of old cloth, without drying them in the open sun and often hiding them in dark corners of their houses, resulting in health risks.
Disposal sanitary napkins are being proposed as a solution to this. Many manufacturers, NGOs and even the government are selling and distributing napkins at very low costs and even 'free'. However, this approach in menstrual hygiene, is creating a whole of slew of new problems in a country like ours with a large population and poor waste disposal systems and defeats the very purpose of the Swach Bharat Abhiyan.
The shame around menstruation, continues even with the disposable napkins and women do not dispose waste properly. They hide it and dispose it in a way that can be detrimental to the environment. In urban and semi-urban areas, disposable pads are often flushed down toilets, leading to sewer blockages and becoming a health hazard for sanitation workers.
Menstrual waste ends up littering roadsides or getting burned in huge trash heaps. This releases toxic dioxins into the atmosphere and also pollutes the soil and groundwater. A sanitary napkin takes 500-800 years to degrade. A woman uses around 10,000 pads, on an average, in her entire lifetime for around 30-40 years. Each sanitary pad is equivalent to 4 plastic bags. There are 300 million menstruating women in India. Imagine the burden of menstrual waste and its accompanying pollution if all women switch to disposable sanitary napkins. A humongous environmental health hazard is staring in our face, which needs urgent action.
Impact to women's health
The ingredients of a modern sanitary napkin- the super absorbent polymers, the acrylic based gel, the leak proof layer which causes itching and skin rashes. Many women complain about rashes and burning, but continue to live with this discomfort. Many young girls and women in the rural areas who are given free sanitary napkins under various schemes, continue to use the same pad for over 10-12 hours. Furthermore, to give tampons and pads that pristine, "clean" white look, the fibers used must be bleached. Chlorine is commonly used for this, which can create toxic dioxin and other disinfection-by-products (DBPs) such as trihalomethane. Considering that these pads are in direct contact with the highly sensitive area of the body, there are concerns of health risks.
While disposable pads may be appealing because of their convenience- the inconvenient truth is that they present a huge health and environmental problem.
Promoting menstrual hygiene products which are ecologically safe, affordable and safe for a woman's body.
These are the menstrual cup and the washable cloth pads
Cloth pads: A 'new look' and design to the old cloth method, and can be easily washed and sun-dried.
The Menstrual Cup- A cup can be used for a life time and is environmentally the best option today. It is economical in the long run and women find it comfortable to use.
However, these options are not advertised and hence not known to most women in urban and rural areas.
There is a need to make women aware of sustainable menstruation options. Green the Red is a campaign to educate women on sustainable menstruation and the advantages of switching to options that have minimum impact on environment and are the least polluting.
'Halla Bol' was one of those social events, organised by 'Surat Obstetric and Gynecology Society', wit theme of 'healthy Girls, Healthy India' on 22/01/2016. this social event became unique with these awareness campaign was added to it......
Himanshu (Arjun) Padhya