Health

Managing menstrual waste in India

A film on menstruation, titled 'Period. End Of Sentence', has won the Oscar in the documentary short subject category. Here's looking at the problem of managing menstrual waste in India

 
Representational Photo: Getty Images
Last Updated: Wednesday 27 February 2019

There are 336 million menstruating women in India, of which 36 per cent use disposable sanitary napkins — that totals to 121 million women, estimates the Menstrual Hygiene Alliance of India (MHAI). The number of sanitary napkins used per menstrual cycle — at a conservative eight — and calculating that for the year — implies that India has 12.3 billion disposable sanitary napkins to take care of every year, majority of which are not biodegradable/compostable.

With not enough effort going into stripping used sanitary napkins so that the richness of the nutrients can be captured though composting,  menstrual waste is disposed as part of routine waste ending up in landfills, thrown in open spaces and water bodies, burnt, buried (shallow burial) or flushed down toilets. Each poses a different type of risk to the environment. Burning releases carcinogenic fumes in the form of dioxins and furans. 

A film on menstruation produced in India, Period. End Of Sentence, has won the Oscar in the documentary short subject category. Here's looking at the problem of managing menstrual waste in India:

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