A drain block that needs to be cleaned manually is not an unusual occurrence in an apartment or a residential neighborhood – A nasty unhygienic job that we have to pay someone to do it. Recently 3 sanitation workers died while clearing underground sewage systems in the city. And it happens routinely.
While plastics are to blame too, often the main culprit in thinner pipes is Sanitary napkin. Disposable napkins (as well as diapers) contain plastic and super absorbent gel that bloat up and chock our pipes and sewers. Even if disposed in the trash bin, the plight of PKs handling that kind of trash is pitiful who are exposed to various infections. There is no good use to the end product that deposits at landfills making them give out polluting leachate. Even burning leads to dioxins in the air that are listed as one of the 12 POPs in the Stockholm convention that affect human health. Sanitary napkins and tampons themselves have a soup of toxic chemicals that absorb into our bodies month after month, year after year. With decades of use, there is permanent allergy, rashes and irritation and in longer term endocrine disruption.
There are healthier more eco-friendly options which are now becoming popular – Cloth pads and menstrual cups. They are easy on the pocket, more comfortable and healthier for our bodies. Initial cost of the reusable options is higher but recurring cost is Nil, unlike a sanitary napkin that needs to be purchased every month. Often what one spends in a year on purchasing sanitary napkins can be recovered with a menstrual cup/cloth pad that lasts (8-10)/(2-5) years per woman. But the one time purchasing cost of these options need to come down so more women can afford to buy them. These options need to become mainstream and awareness needs to be built around them.
As part of the ‘Green the Red’ Campaign, some of us are spreading awareness on the reusable menstrual hygiene options. We have also floated a petition to propose tax cuts on the reusable menstrual hygiene products.
I would request all of you to sign and share the petition in your circles. It is as much for awareness that is sadly lacking in the masses than just proposing tax cuts.
Priyanka N Jain