RJ Chirashree was recently at an event at the Atta Galatta bookstore and cafe organised by the volunteer-driven Aikyam Community for Sustainable Living. Smita Kulkarni, an activist who builds awareness on menstrual hygiene and is the co-founder of StoneSoup, an organisation that works in the field of eco-friendly personal care products, spoke about sustainable menstrual hygiene practices.
She opined that menstruation remains a taboo subject as sanitary napkins are still wrapped in dark covers or using newspaper sheets. She also spoke about the evolution of sanitary napkins, the making of sanitary napkins, the materials and chemicals used to make a sanitary pad, and the improper disposal of sanitary napkins that can cause drainage blocks.
“In HSR Layout, there is a unit that is dedicated exclusively to the disposal of sanitary waste,” she mentioned. “People should switch to cloth pads. Alternatively, menstrual cups can be used as well.” She even explained the ways in which these cups can be used. “The durability of the cups is great; menstrual cups last longer, they are smaller in size and cheaper in price as well.” She urged everyone to consider sustainable menstrual habits as “about 90 tons of sanitary waste is generated from Bangalore alone.”
Smita feels that the use of menstrual cups isn’t very popular as women aren’t aware of its ease and comfort. Careful cleaning of the vagina is recommended and it is important to not use a lot of chemicals while cleaning it. Companies that market sanitary products convince people very effectively to buy the pads. Thankfully, some schools have also begun to spread awareness about sustainability and the usage of sanitary napkins.
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Written by Chirashree Shil