New Delhi: “Conventional sanitary pads and tampons available in the market are loaded with plastic. These menstrual products are used for at least 4-6 days per month by most women worldwide. This means a huge amount of plastic waste is generated every month globally. After being disposed off, sanitary products that are usually made out of plastic takes over 500 years to break down,” says Dr. Surbhi Singh, Gynaecologist and an activist working to spread awareness about the importance of menstrual hygiene in Delhi. She further says that using menstrual products which contain plastic is not only harmful to the environment but is also unhealthy for the user.
It is important to make the right choice of sanitary products and for this, plastic-free biodegradable options can go a long way in keeping oneself and the environment healthy, says another gynaecologist, Deepa Dureja, in a talk with Indo-Asian News Service (IANS).
Also Read: How A Visit To Mumbai’s Landfill Inspired A 23-Year-Old To Embark On A Zero Waste Journey
According to Dr. Singh, along with the products used during menstruation, it is also the habits related to menstrual hygiene among women and young girls that plays a substantial role in having healthy and eco-friendly periods.
Here are few things experts suggest to keep in mind while purchasing menstrual products:
Examine The Material Carefully Before Buying A Sanitary Product
The materials used in the commercial sanitary pads use plastic. Along with being hazardous to the environment, these are also uncomfortable for the user, often leaving rashes and infections. One must always investigate the kind of material one is buying. Women must look for soft and skin-friendly pads, devoid of plastic, harmful chemicals, and artificial fragrances.
Make Sure That Both Packaging As Well As The Pads/ Tampons Are Biodegradable
To cut down on production costs, sanitary napkins available in the market are made out of harmful non-biodegradable substances. On being disposed off, these put the burden on the local dumping yards and landfills and harm the environment. These can enter rivers, oceans and end up on beaches. According to an estimate by the European Commission, an institution of the European Union, because of incorrectly disposed off by flushing down the toilet, sanitary pads and tampons contribute to ocean plastic, which kills around 1 million sea birds and 100,000 sea mammals, marine turtles and countless fish yearly.
One must opt for brands that manufacture 100 per cent biodegradable menstrual products.
Also Read: Flying High: Rural India’s Pad-Women Bringing Bottom-Up Change Feature In Oscar-Winning Documentary
Use Sanitary Pads Free From Chlorine And Other Toxic Chemicals
Most pads in the market are bleached with chlorine. Most importantly, in some cases, the dioxin (a by-product of bleaching with chlorine) can cause ovarian cancer. Ensure that you take this important factor into account while purchasing a pad.
Go For Reusable Products
One can keep one’s plastic footprint down with opting for reusable sanitary pads made out of washable cotton clothes, menstrual cups, tampons without an applicator, sanitary towels, and period underwear that can be used multiple times.
Also Read: Menstruation In India: Delhi Students Hold Period Fest And Pad March To Spread Awareness On Menstrual Hygiene
(With Inputs From IANS)
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.