With the world raging for a healthier eco-system and a safe planet, many of us are still confided into the atrocities from the time immemorial. When talked about the menstruation cycle in women, one topic that is imperative to acknowledge is how green your period is? Considering the effects on the environment, not so much.
Despite the regular and continuous usage of menstruation napkins, the statistics related to the harmful effects of the same are often overlooked by us. Industrially manufactured and disposable sanitary pads take about 500 to 800 years to decompose. And equating some surveys, there are near about 432 million sanitary napkins and tampons that are generated in India, annually. With this ridiculous amount of devastation, it is okay to say that we are somehow achieving the peaks of natural desecration. This issue of sanitary waste has gained a significant position of concern on a global scale.
If the numerical does not concern you, how about the fact that this hazardous waste is lethal for human health as well. Chemicals leaching deep into the pores of the soil, polluting one of the most prominent water sources on earth, groundwater, or, the merging of deadly microorganism in the air you breathe. And the most obvious dilemma of all is plastic wastes. Plastic pervades modern life, and menstruation is no exception. Marking the 20th century, many tampons and menstrual pads have contained somewhere between a little and a lot of plastic in their basic design. Let us estimate that over a course of a lifetime, a single menstruator will use somewhere between 5 to 15 thousand pads and tampons. So if there are about 336 million girls and women experiencing menstruation in India, in which if only 121 million are using disposable sanitary napkins, the rough input for the likely output is staggering itself.
Speaking about the disposal plan of sanitary waste, the response is a big question mark. Since there is no clarity on whether these sanitary napkins should be classified under bio-medical waste or dry waste, there is also no awareness regarding the proper disposal even among those who live in societies, whereas in slum areas the sterile disposal has already wedged into the drainage system. While some recommended incineration as an answer for disposal, the cost of scientifically manoeuvred incineration are risk-prone. Simultaneously, the risk of a respiratory disorder, skin infection and other airborne diseases will lead to the pinnacle. Furthermore, with many women flushing down the disposable pads after usage, the clogging of underground drains and manual scavengers has also taken a drastic turn, bearing the health cost for the same.
But having said that we also can not deny that, menstruation is an unavoidable reality that had to be dealt with. The appeal and ubiquity of disposable grew as more women entered the workforce. But the idea of Sustainable Menstruation can shed some light on these health havoc, as there are some salutary alternatives to utilise menstrual care products without creating any critical impacts. The idea of “greening your red” can provide ample knowledge and a positive viewpoint towards waste disposal being replaced by reusable, low-energy input menstrual products such as menstrual cups, cloth pads and period panties. Such brilliant innovations have the potential to propel waste into energy by furnishing a safe and cost-effective answer.