why are we pretending that there isn’t a growing mountain of menstrual waste we need to deal with? - super absorbent polymer manufacturers in india
A month ago, the dirty sanitary napkins left in the Kochi factory bathroom triggered a series of events that few people could expect.
More than 40 female employees in the factory are Strip girls.
Search by two female supervisors to find out who "culpr" is.
When the plant manager refused to take action against the supervisor, a group decided to protest by mailing sanitary napkins (used or unused)
Go to the factory as part of an activity called "Red alert: you have a napin.
The shocking behavior of the two supervisors is clearly a violation of human dignity and an extreme reaction to the waste of menstruation.
But their reaction reflects the aversion of modern Indian society to menstrual problems, especially the aversion to menstrual waste.
What about menstrual waste is not limited to 40-
There is only a strange female worker in a factory.
With more and more Indian households using sanitary napkins, waste managers and local city residents are staring at the growing menstrual fluid --soaked non-
Disposable sanitary pads are quick replacement of "unsanitary" reusable cloth, mainly made of plastic materials and cannot be recycled.
9,000 tons of monthly menstrual waste is destroying our landscape, clogging the sewers and eating fast
Insufficient space for landfill sites.
No one seems to know how to deal with it.
What is the "safe" technology to deal with menstrual waste? Do we even have one?
The Indian government is eager to manage menstrual waste and is pushing Micro
Incinerators in cities (
Burn sanitary napkins-release toxins that are harmful to humans, animals and the environment.
Meanwhile, sanitary napkin manufacturers such as Procter & Gamble, India (
In 2011, the brand had a 51% market share of "whisky)
Johnson & Johnson and Unilever, Hindustan (
Make "free" and "kotex ")
, And even refused to participate in discussions about managing menstrual waste.
As menstrual hygiene has become more and more important in the past decade and a half, the price and disposal of menstrual products has become a major problem.
There is no official data on menstrual waste in India, but there are many estimates.
It is said that a woman has an average of 3,500 days of menstruation.
Eco Localizer's blog estimates that if a woman comes to menstruation for 33 years (
Between 12 and 45 years of age)
25 mats per cycle and she ended up throwing away 8,000
She has 10,000 mats in her life.
Some people think a single woman produces about 125-
150 kg of sanitary waste during menstruation (
According to data from India's Central Pollution Control Commission, city residents generated 0 in one day.
38 kg of solid waste.
This is about 1,330 of solid waste in 3,500 days).
In 2011, a survey was conducted by market research firm AC Nielsen and Plan International
There are 0. 355 billion menstrual women in India, only 12% of whom use sanitary napkins.
In 2013, down-to-earth magazine tried to estimate the amount of menstrual waste produced in India, and calculated that 12% of the 0. 3 billion women with menstruation-36 million Indian women-used sanitary napkins every month.
A monthly distribution of 12 napkins to a woman found that this adds up to 0. 432 billion dirty mats weighing 9,000 tons per month, enough to cover 24 hectares of landfill sites.
12%, the use of disposable sanitary napkins is still very low, but with India becoming a huge market for sanitary napkins, menstrual waste will increase dramatically.
According to 2013 sheets of paper from the sanitary napkin brand, "The growth rate of the sanitary napkin market is expected to exceed 18% to 20%, which has great potential and excellent profit margin for manufacturers.
"If every woman of childbearing age in India uses disposable pads, it is estimated that more than 58. 5 billion sanitary pads will be produced each year as menstrual waste.
At present, more and more problems are that urban women use the most disposable sanitary napkins, while 81% of rural women in India still use "undisinfected cloth ".
Nielsen survey found that 23% of Indian girls aged 12
Once they enter puberty, they drop out of school because of insufficient menstrual protection.
To address this issue, international institutions such as the government of India and UNICEF have been promoting the use of sanitary napkins in rural areas.
In June 2010, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare approved a plan under the reproductive and child health plan to provide highly subsidized sanitary napkins to 15 million young girls in rural areas.
Subsidized sanitary napkins, branded "free", are sold to these girls at a price of 6 packs by Accredited Social Health activists (ASHAs).
"The government is promoting subsidized sanitary napkins in rural areas, but no system has been set up to collect and dispose of them. . .
In the rural tribal village of South Gujarat where we work, there is a superstition that if a girl puts her menstrual fluid --
The sanitary napkin was soaked and she would not be pregnant in the future.
So these girls are 4-
5 days, then burn them together in the backyard, thus exposing them to toxic contaminants, "said Shobha Shah, coordinator of the Rural Health Training and Resource Center, seuch SEWA, Gujarat, and co-operation
Author of a study on menstrual hygiene habits of adolescent girls in rural tribal communities in Gujarat.
Eco-Banshee, a pony
According to the calculation of social enterprises producing cloth mats, the first phase of the plan will be converted into 90 million used sanitary pads in rural India, which do not have a system for managing such waste.
Why are napkins so bad for the environment?
According to Eco Femme, popular sanitary napkins in markets such as Whisper and Stayfree have a top floor, often referred to as dri-
Woven top plate made of polypropylene (plastic fleece).
They contain fillers, usually made from pulp mixed with a highly absorbent polymer (SAP)
-A plastic-based gel that draws the fluid from the surface to the bottom of the liner with a leak-proof layer made of non-permeable polyethylene, non-woven film.
In addition, perfume is sometimes added to the sanitary pad.
90% of sanitary napkins are plastic.
This can lead to skin allergies and rashes.
The use of disposable sanitary napkins is also related to endometrial abnormalities in women.
Most major brands use chlorine bleach to whiten their products, the burning of which is related to the release of highly toxic dioxin and furans, which are carcinogenic even in trace cases.
Furans are present in pesticides sprayed organically. grown cotton (
Used to make pads).
Some of the most toxic substances known to human beings-dioxin and fur-are related to various health issues, including reproductive health issues, and hinder the development of children.
The current way to deal with sanitary napkins is to mix them with domestic garbage and dump them.
They were eventually disposed of by the people who picked up the garbage, and they screened the garbage to remove the recyclable things.
"The pickers use their hands to separate the dirty napkins from recyclable items and expose themselves to micro
Creatures like E.
E. coli, salmonella, Staphylococcus, HIV and pathogens that cause hepatitis and influenza.
In addition to good health, this is also an offence to human dignity, "said Bharati Chaturvedi, founder and director of New Delhi --
Headquartered in the Chintan Environmental Research and Action Team.
How menstrual waste is managed and treated depends on the classification of menstrual waste.
This classification is suspicious in India. While bio-
Sanitary waste is accepted as part of solid waste and it is not clear what rules can be applied to deal with it.
Solid waste, for example (
Management and processing)
Rule 2000 divides waste into wet waste and dry waste.
It is difficult to allocate menstrual waste to any of these two categories.
"In addition to wet waste and dry waste, the third category of hazardous waste must be produced and implemented for waste such as sanitary pads, baby diapers, Continental diapers, syringes [
Insulin at home
"The blades and the like are collected separately and sent for disposal directly," Chaturvedi said . ".
Dharmesh Shah is the climate and garbage collection coordinator for the Global Alliance for alternatives to incinerators in India (GAIA)
I think menstrual waste should be classified as biomedical wasteMedical Waste (
Management and processing)
Rule 1998 requires appropriate treatment.
However, it may not be feasible for municipalities to collect such waste from their families on a daily basis.
"People keep their creatures in several European cities
"Sanitary waste is separate and municipal workers will collect and send it for treatment on a fixed day of the week," Shah said . ".
Under the rule of article 1998, biomedical waste must be sterilized at high pressure (
Sterilization under high pressure using steam), microwaved (
Hot and humid disinfection by microwave)
Or burn to eliminate pathogens.
The Indian government is pushing for the burning of menstrual waste.
To this end, there are many meetings and seminars on the modification of Bharat Abhiyan (NBA)
The guidelines were issued in December 2013.
The office memorandum issued by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Health reads: "[S]
Incinerators can be installed in schools, women's community health centers, primary care centers or any other suitable place in the village, etc.
"Under the Indian government's Swachh swat Swachh Vidyalaya mission, the school's incinerators are also being promoted.
The design principles of the country's mission include "having at least one incinerator in the girls' toilets, as well as a niche for keeping sanitary napkins. ”A government-
Sponsored projects in Tamil Nadu have led to simple, low
Incinerators in women's toilets in several schools and women's health centers.
An entrepreneur even designed his own design for the Terracotta Army incinerator.
However, there is no system at all to monitor the emissions of these small carsincinerators.
"Burning menstrual waste is a dangerous practice because it is related to toxic emissions.
Four small businesses have been set up by Pune Municipal Corporation.
Incinerator, the cost of burning a sanitary napkin is up to [rupee]
Including garbage collection, electricity charges, etc. .
This is ecologically and financially unsustainable, "said Lakshmi Narayan, secretary-general for solid waste collection and disposal (SwaCH), a Pune-
The organization of more than 2,000 pickers.
Dharmesh Shah believes that the use of landfill sites is a better option without a valid choice.
Chaturvedi also prefers to bury the sanitary pads deep instead of burning them. But the long-
The long-term solution is to move towards healthier and more ecological
Friendly choice, she added.
How to deal with biomedical waste is still a problem around the world.
Toronto is trying to produce diapers, while Mexico is trying to break down diapers with oyster mushrooms.
SFD recycling system of Super Faith, a Japanese automation company, chop, dry and disinfect diapers and convert them into bacteria
Free materials for making fuel particles.
A one-time replacement for padsHamsa Iyer is a young colleague from Mumbaibased think-
Observer Research Foundation.
Among other things, she works in hygiene and has been trying to reduce the waste footprint by composting wet waste at home.
"I rarely send out garbage from home, but I realize that I have menstrual garbage every month.
It makes me think, I look for ecology
Friendly choice and stumbled upon the cloth pad made by Eco Femme.
I ordered them online, and since then I have
"A biodegradable whisper for a comfortable cloth pad," Iyer said . ".
On the days when she came to menstruation, Iyer walked around comfortably in a cloth mat, and after returning home at night, she soaked in the water for an hour while preparing dinner and finishing other household chores.
After dinner she washed her cloth pads and hung them out so they could dry and disinfect in The Sun the next morning.
"Our grandmother uses cloth during the monthly period.
But, with so much shame, they dried the cloth in some unsanitary corners of the house.
It's time for us to break the shame part of it and dry our cloth mats in the bright sun, "she added.
A cloth sanitary pad for Eco Femme is about Rs 240, which is not affordable for most rural women.
After a rigorous product test of more than 850 women and girls in rural India, Eco Femme has launched a range of subsidy pads for women from economically difficult backgrounds.
There are gifts too-a-
Pad plan, according to the plan, each Eco Femme cloth washable Pad purchased outside India (
Export to 14 countries), a built-
In the donation, the ofr 80 automatically provides washable cloth mats for teenage girls.
Several other organizations in India are already working on alternatives to disposable sanitary napkins.
The non-governmental organizations of Shobha Shah can falalin (flannel)
Girls from Gujarat tribal community use cloth.
"In the rural tribal villages where we work, almost 90% of women now use falalin cloth.
Soft, strong absorption, chestnut color.
After use, they wash the falalin cloth and dry it in the sun to disinfect it, "she said.
On December 2004, the tsunami that hit the eastern coast of India will
Goonj works in a new direction.
Goonj working in disaster
Affected areas, venture into menstrual hygiene management by making cloth mats known as "my field", converting abandoned cotton cloth into sanitary cloth mats for rural women.
"So far, we have transformed the abandoned cotton cloth of 5 Rahman rice into 3 million cloth sanitary napkins during disasters such as the akhande floods in the north and the Bihar floods.
For us, cloth sanitary napkins are not only a product, but also a tool that can make us aware of menstrual health problems, which is a taboo in this country.
Unlike multinational companies that are not manufacturing
Founder Anshu Gupta said: "biodegradable disposable pads and sold in multi-layer plastic packaging, causing damage to the environment, our products are made of cotton and safe to use
Director of Goonj
"Most of the discarded mats and plastic packaging will enter the water body of the village and destroy the local environment and the health of the people.
Do we understand the disasters we are all experiencing?
"There is an innovative way for Goonj to convey my message to rural women.
If City people donate Rs 300 to Goonj, it will meet the annual needs of my Pad for a rural woman, including 3 underwear (
Made by Goonj)
Information on this issue
Arunachalam Muruganantham, a social entrepreneur from rural Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, is known for being "Menstrual Man" and he calls himself the first to wear sanitary napkins
His company, Jayaashree Industries, created a unique model and machine (
This takes Rs 65,000 compared to the usual Rs 3. 5 crore)
Low for manufacturing
99% biodegradable cost sanitary pads.
The whole operation was completed by rural women, thus creating employment opportunities for the rural poor. It's a woman-to-
Women models who use women to make sanitary napkins and sell them to other rural women.
The minimum cost of a pad is Re 1.
"When I started doing sanitary napkins, I realized that there were only P & G and Johnson & Johnson in the market.
The products of the two companies are not affordable for a large number of Indian women who still use old rags, sand, sawdust, Hay, plastic, etc during their menstrual period.
There are still a large number of women in India.
We are in a hurry to send women to Mars, but we cannot give them healthy and safe sanitary napkins to live a dignified life. . .
Through our model, we are reducing
Customized sanitary napkins for rural women.
Muruganantham claims that their products have become very popular and are now made by women across India, including the Andaman, Nicobar Islands and the Nasar --affected areas.
"We are expanding rapidly and big companies are worried now," he said . "
Aakar Innovations Pvt Ltd. produces Anandi Pads, 100% packable sanitary Pads manufactured by rural women with minifactory set-up. A pack (eight pads)
The price of the Anadi pad is 20 rupees.
However, the government does not have any support for such products.
In contrast, 20-
Secure for the Stayfree pad (
The cheapest one is stable for Stayfree)
Cost Rs 52-RS 2. 6 per pad. An eight-
Super pure cushion bag whisper (
The cheapest kind of quiet stability)
Cost Rs 78-9. 75 a pad.
The manufacturer does not careChintan has been promoting the application of plastic waste (
Manufacturing, use and waste management)
Rules, 2011, waste of menstruation.
2011 plastic rules apply to plastic handbags and multiple
Layered plastic packaging and talk about the extended responsibility of producers (EPR).
"Sanitary napkin manufacturers are completely irresponsible to women and the pickers.
On the one hand, they do not give health and ecology
A friendly choice for women;
On the other hand, they don't care about the pickers who deal with menstrual waste.
Why don't manufacturers provide women with bags labeled to handle sanitary napkins?
Do not provide free biodegradable sanitary napkins to women?
Asked Chaturvedi, he believes the government should purchase biodegradable sanitary napkins on a large scale to promote them and reduce costs.
SWaCH tried to put pressure on sanitary napkin manufacturers but had little effect.
"We know that wasting menstruation is a complicated problem.
However, as a first step, manufacturers should propose options for easy identification of sanitary waste.
In 2010, we developed paper bags with labels [Re 1 each]
To handle the sanitary pads and write to the manufacturer.
But no one answered.
They don't care about the health and dignity of the pickers, "Narayan said.
SWaCH then communicates with leading sanitary napkin manufacturers to solve the problem of menstrual waste.
"The company only provides gloves and masks to the pickers, or carries out promotional activities. It refused to [bear the]
Be responsible for its products and take measures against waste.
Unless the Indian government puts pressure on manufacturers, they will not take any measures against the increase in menstrual waste. "Narayan added.
Interestingly, the representative of the plastics industry also wants the government to put pressure on manufacturers and put it under the protection of the EPR.
"There is absolutely no pressure on the authorities, legislators or consumers in India to force brand owners or product manufacturing companies to help collect and recycle packaging and product waste. . .
Despite the reminder of more than 5 central ministries-
For seven years, there has been no comprehensive law on packaging waste in the country.
Consumer goods companies do not have an EPR at all, "said Vijay Merchant, former chairman of the Indian Plastics Institute and owner of Polycraft in Mumbai.
The legal pressure on manufacturers is growing.
On April 2014, the Southern Court of the national green court issued a notice to the manufacturers and state governments of six leading sanitary napkins companies, and Chennai responded to a petition submitted by a social activist named Gopi Vijaykumar.
The latter said that unscientific sanitary pad treatment caused environmental pollution, and the manufacturer was bound by EPRclause under the plastic rules of 2011.
"None of the manufacturers have responded so far. . .
"We have an EPR clause in India, but the government has not implemented it and the company will not be punished," said Vijaykumar . " His next case hearing is scheduled for the end of this month.
Indian manufacturers follow double standards, he claims.
"In New Zealand, under the Kimberley Clark New Zealand environmental product management program, the company collects and [composts]sanitary waste.
Why can't they do something similar in India?
A British company called Knowaste claims to be recycling sanitary waste.
Why does the manufacturer not cooperate? ” he asks.
Narayan believes sanitary napkins should be recycled.
"Of course, it's not cheap to treat and treat menstrual waste.
But manufacturers have to share the economic burden, "she said.
I wrote to P & G and Johnson & Johnson for their opinion on the waste of menstruation.
Although Johnson & Johnson did not bother to respond, a communication from P & G Public Relations said: "Unfortunately, we will not be able to participate in this story.
Please feel free to inform us of future opportunities.
"Maybe it's time to start another campaign;
Where we mail sanitary napkinsused or unused)
Back to the manufacturer.
Nidi Jamwal, Mumbai
Based in freelance journalists, the environment has been covered for more than 15 years.
She tweeted @ JamwalNidhi