Menstrual Hygiene and Effective Disposal
It is a known fact that even in this day and age, menstruation is a big hush hush among society. To add to that, menstrual hygiene is a big problem among women in both urban and rural areas. This causes a lot of problems to women at schools and colleges, and even at their workplaces!
Ever wondered what could be the reason behind the taboo? It is, primarily, ignorance and lack of knowledge.
Here are a few things we could do to ensure more awareness about menstruation, menstrual hygiene, and effective disposal of menstrual waste –
- Education – Girls must be educated about menstruation even before menarche (the onset of menstruation). The more information they have, the better will they understand the need to maintain hygiene during their period. We all know that periods occur due to the shedding of the endometrial lining of the uterus. This occurs when there is no fertilized egg in the uterus. The average period lasts for approximately 4-5 days, but this varies from woman to woman. Basic education on menstruation must be taught in schools.
- Access – Sanitary hygiene is a basic right that every female is entitled to. Unfortunately, due to reasons of unaffordability, lack of awareness and inaccessibility, a lot of women in rural India use cloth to absorb menstrual blood. This is not a convenient choice, since cloth is not very absorbent, and needs to be washed and dried to be reused. Many absorbents, such as sanitary pads and tampons, are now available in the market. A lot of these are priced at very affordable rates and can be used as alternatives for cloth.
- Disposal – It is a common misconception that menstrual blood is ‘dirty’ or unhygienic. The truth is that although menstrual blood in itself is not unhygienic, it can turn infectious if proper hygiene is not maintained. In urban areas, there is a tendency to throw used pads in the garbage or flush them down the toilet, whereas in rural areas, the tendency is to bury sanitary waste in the land, or throw it into pit latrines. These techniques increase pollution due to medical waste and can cause numerous health issues.
Many schools have installed incinerators which help in burning pads without creating smoke. The ash produced by some of these incinerators can also be used as manure for plants! We must encourage the installation of these incinerators in more schools, rural areas, and at a community level.
An easy method to dispose menstrual waste is to roll up a used sanitary pad and wrap it in a piece of paper. Tampons too can be wrapped in paper and then disposed. By wrapping up used sanitary products, we ensure that infections are not spread, especially to ragpickers. Wrapping up menstrual waste also makes it easy for waste segregation workers to differentiate. It also ensures that menstrual waste is not littered, and is contained in a disposal bag.
We’ve tied up with Svacch to make disposal of sanitary waste easier for you! These bags are big enough to accommodate any size of tampons or rolled up sanitary pads. A peel-off sticker on top of the bag makes it sealable and thus maintains hygiene. Svacch Bags are made by ladies from marginalized communities and this helps them find a livelihood. Using Svacch Bags not only makes Sanitary Disposal hygienic for us, but also makes the lives of sanitation workers less humiliating.
You can buy your monthly supply of sanitary pads and tampons from The Pink Box. Every box contains Svacch disposal bags, along with a number of goodies to make your period hygienic, comfortable and happy!