While there has been enough noise and awareness on low levels of access to menstrual hygiene for women in India, safe disposal of menstrual waste continues to a less talked off the issue, even as developed countries move to large scale installation of incinerators to prevent build-up of this waste, which poses hazards similar to biomedical waste.
Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar had announced that sanitary pad manufacturers must provide bio-degradable bags from January 2021 onwards.
Speaking on safe disposal practices, he had said, "We have observed that production and usage of sanitary napkins and diapers have increased in the country, however, they are still being discarded in a way which is harmful to waste-pickers. From January 2021 onward it will be mandatory for all sanitary napkin manufacturers to provide degradable disposal bags for each napkin."
Javadekar has expressed disappointment over the rule already being in existence, but not being followed diligently by the manufacturers.
Sharat Khemka, Co-founder of Shudh Plus Hygiene Products manufacturer and marketer of Niine brand of sanitary napkins said, "It was a much need reminder and reinforcement by the government, calling manufacturers to ensure disposal bags, to promote safe disposal of used sanitary napkins, and prevent spoiled and hazardous napkins from lying exposed. We are yet to see large players embracing this improvement in their product offerings."
"These safe biodegradable sealable disposal bags are Niine's bid for a clean environment and to spread awareness that safe sanitary napkins is as important as use of right menstrual hygiene," he added.
Gaurav Bathwal, Co-Founder of Niine Sanitary Napkins said, "There are various challenges to use of sanitary napkins, when disposal bags are not provided. A lot of women shy away from using safe and hygienic-sanitary napkins, not knowing how to dispose of them. Wrapping and throwing in newspapers, in bins or areas where garbage lifting is not regular, often leads to animals rummaging through the waste and exposing used napkins not only causing embarrassment to neighborhood but also exposing them to serious infectious diseases like Hepatitis etc."
"Needless to say, a small biodegradable pouch provides for discreet, odourless and clean disposal of this monthly waste," he said.
The government in recent years has been very vocal on the need for menstrual hygiene needs, and rendered support at various levels, right from exempting the category from GST on sale, to sponsoring various free distribution programs for school girls. The mandate from January 1, 2021, on the provision of disposal bags by manufacturers, should further help drive the use of safe menstrual hygiene as well as improve and support our drive for Swachh Bharat.
(Disclaimer: This is sponsored content. The liability for the article solely rests with the provider. The content has not been verified by India TV channel and IndiaTVNews.com)