The importance of reusable sanitary pads was stressed at a virtual media briefing the Mata Amritanandamayi Math had organised on Wednesday on the eve of World Menstrual Hygiene Day.
A release from the Math said Anju Bist, Co-Director, Amrita SeRVe Programme, and ‘pad woman of India’ said reusable pads had become a necessity because of the waste generated by disposing sanitary pads.
Ms. Bist was a co-creator of Saukhyam Reusable Pad, awarded the ‘most innovative product’ by the National Institute of Rural Development.
The release quoting her said there were 355 million menstruating women and girls in the country, as per the National Family Health Survey. If every woman and girl in menstruating age were to use disposable pads, 38.5 thousand crore pads would be discarded every month. Safely disposing of the soiled pads was a challenge because burning them released harmful dioxins and furans.
Burying them was no good either because the pads were non-biodegradable. It was in this context the use of reusable pads became important.
Saukhyam pads were made of banana fibre, absorbed six times its weight in fluid and the fibre was locally available.
DSirisha from Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, said use of cellulose fibre as absorbent material in pads along with chemical additives and toxins caused health problems. The bleaching of the fibre led to the presence of trace amount of dioxins and there was a possibility that it could enter bloodstream.
The speakers also said how India had an ISO standard for reusable sanitary pads and their use was gaining acceptance across the world.
The Amrita university had also conducted a quantitative study among 155 rural and 216 urban participants and Krishnashree Achuthan, Dean, PG Programs, had co-authored a paper on the topic, the release added.