Only reusable pads made of organic materialscan ensure sustainable menstrual hygiene

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CHENNAI /May 28, 2018:Considering the immense non-biodegradable waste generated by disposable sanitary pads every month, sustainable menstrual hygiene in India is possible only with reusable pads made of organic materials, said Anju Bist, Co-Director, Amrita SeRVe (Self Reliant Village) Program of Mata Amritanandamayi Math.
Known as the "Pad Woman" of India for her zeal in promoting the use and reuse of sanitary pads made of cloth and banana fibre, she has been instrumental in creating awareness in schools and colleges to acquaint young girls with facts about menstruation, and the environmental and health impacts of menstrual hygiene products.She is also the co-creator of Saukhyam Reusable Pads which have been awarded "Most Innovative Product" by the National Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad.The production unit for banana fibres used in these padsas absorbent material is situated near Chennai.
Said Anju Bist: "There are 355 million menstruating women and girls in India but, as per the National Family Health Survey (2015-2016) data, only 57% of them in the age group 15-25 years have access to hygienic products to manage their menstruation. There are laudable efforts by many organizations to make disposable pads available to those who cannot afford them. However, if every woman of reproductive age in India were to use disposable sanitary pads, an estimated 5,800 crore (58 billion) soiled pads would be discarded annually. How does one get rid of soiled pads? Burning releases harmful dioxins and furans. Burying is no good either because the pads are non-biodegradable.
It is estimated that each disposable pad has the equivalent of four plastic bags in it and will take 500-800 years to decompose. Is this the legacy we want to leave behind?"

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