Campaign to ensure sustainable menstrual hygiene

A group of activists and healthcare professionals on Tuesday launched a campaign to ensure menstrual hygiene and clear the city of non-decomposable waste.

Through the "cup and cloth campaign", they plan to promote reusable cups and sanitary napkins made out of cloth instead of disposable sanitary pads.

The campaign has come at a time when the Menstrual Hygiene Management National Guidelines, 2015, and activities such as free distribution of sanitary pads schemes promote disposable products.

The activists said the disposable products add to the growing waste management crisis.

"Bengaluru generates 90 tonnes of menstrual waste per day. Reusable menstrual products like cloth pads and menstrual cups are the right choice from the medical as well as environmental perspective," said Dr Meenakshi Bharath, gynaecologist and an expert in waste management.

She added that one menstrual cup can last up to 10 years and a cloth pad up to 3 years and this is a perfect solution for Swachh Bharat Mission.

According to the National Family Health Survey, 2015-2016, 57% of girls and women in the age group of 15 to 25 years have access to hygienic products to manage their menstruation.

Experts said that a sanitary pad contains plastic and takes at least 800 years to decompose.

Dr Pushpalatha, a gynaecologist based out of Bengaluru, said that disposable products also contain chemicals that several women are allergic to and are potentially carcinogenic.

"Cloth is a perfectly safe option but the shame attached to menstruation and cultural taboos often lead to its unhygienic maintenance," she added.

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