A sanitary napkin is made of non-biodegradable plastic, which remains in the land for years and years, leading to environmental hazards. It also harms health. It is estimating that nearly 121 million women use sanitary pads during the menstruation cycle. On average, a single woman uses eight sanitary napkins per menstruation cycle. Seventy percent of women from urban areas use sanitary napkins than 48 percent of women from rural areas. Around 12.3 billion sanitary napkins are produce every year and disposed of the same. It shows that a considerable number of waste generated, which shows the need to adopt green menstruation.
Do you know?
A used sanitary napkin takes 500 to 800 years to decompose, according to Menstrual Health Alliance India.
Nowadays, sanitary napkins made of plastic material. Absorbent material, namely Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP) with Polyethylene (PE) for back cover to make sanitary napkins waterproof. To keep the upper sheet dry, material namely Polypropylene is use. These materials make the sanitary napkin non-biodegradable, difficult to decompose, leading to environmental and health problems and increasing waste pollution.
Sanitary Napkin Waste in India:
Solid Waste Management (SWM) Rules, 2016 states that humans must segregate waste into three sections: Wet waste, Dry Waste, and Domestic hazardous Waste. Sanitary Napkins are disposing of as household waste. Garbage pickers need to separate this waste with bare hands, exposing themselves to infections and diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis. Further, these sanitary napkins are disposed of in drains or dumpsites. Sanitary Napkins contain SAP- Super Absorbent Polymer, which leads to water clogging and contaminations.
It is instructed that sanitary napkins should be wrapped appropriately, disposed of in a dry bin, and separately handed to the waste collectors. But this is not the case; sanitary napkins are disposed of in the same bin and sometimes without wrapping them properly.
Ways to Green Menstruation:
Women should shift to green menstruation by using menstrual cups and Reusable Cloth pads that are easily accessible and affordable.
Menstrual cups are an excellent product for women during periods. It is a small, flexible, and funnels shaped cup made of rubber or silicone. Women need to insert the Menstrual cup into their Vagina to collect the fluid in the cup. It estimates that Menstrual cups can collect more blood than other menstrual hygiene products, so many women find it an eco-friendly alternative to sanitary hygiene products.
Women can remove the menstrual cup after every 8 hours, empty the blood collected, wash it, and be ready to use it again. They can do anything without any fear of period stain. Women can use a menstrual cup for ten years.
Reusable Cloth Pads:
Reusable Cloth pads are the best alternative for those women who don’t find it safe to use menstrual cups or tampons. It is the best product to use during low blood flow. Modern Cloth pads made of absorbent layer fabrics that can be use during menstrual flow, avoid period stains during periods, and give a gentle touch to the sensitive area. These pads come with leak-proof layers, wings that are washable, dried, and ready for reuse.
Another option for green menstruation is to dispose of the used sanitary napkin in an eco-friendly manner. It is possible by using incinerators. Incinerators are machines that dispose of the used hygienic napkins by burning the sanitary napkins without emitting any fumes. There is an immediate need to create an awareness regarding the environmental problems created due to improper disposal of used sanitary napkins. The government should take the essential steps to ensure sanitary napkin’s appropriate and safe disposal during the menstruation cycle. It will be a significant step towards green menstruation if women opt to use Menstrual Cups and Cloth pads.