Muhamma grama panchayat in Alappuzha is all set to become the first synthetic pad-free panchayat in India.
A project to manage menstrual waste by encouraging women to switch to reusable pads made of clothes and menstrual cups was launched by Food and Civil Supplies Minister P. Thilothaman on Friday.
As part of the project, the panchayat has started distributing cloth pads and menstrual cups to women. Aryad block panchayat president Sheena Sanalkumar inaugurated the distribution of cloth pads. District deputy medical officer Anu Varghese inaugurated the distribution of menstrual cups at the function.
The project is part of Muhammodayam, a joint initiative of the panchayat and the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), a Bengaluru-based non-profit organisation, which is aimed at the conservation of the Vembanad Lake ecosystem by developing sustainable livelihoods and management of natural resources.
It is funded by the Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research (ISRO), through its CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities.
The local body has also joined hands with the Health Department to achieve the aim.
According to the panchayat authorities, on an average, the local body is generating menstrual waste of more than one lakh synthetic sanitary pads on a monthly basis. It has become a major threat to soil and water. As part of the initiative, it will provide a maximum of four cloth pads and one menstrual cup to all women in the panchayat after collecting a nominal fee.
A menstrual cup can be reused for a period of at least five years.
In that way, one cup can replace more than 750 sanitary napkins. A cloth pad can be reused for 3-4 years. Using cloth pads and cups minimises health issues, officials said.
Muhamma grama panchayat president J. Jayalal presided. ATREE project coordinator T.D. Jojo, ATREE programme coordinator Reema Anand, ATREE senior fellow Priyadarshanan Dharmarajan and others were present at the function.