TAMIL NADU

Schools go in for incinerators

R. Krishnamoorthy

TIRUCHI: Though gradual, higher secondary schools in the district are in the process of installing low-cost incinerators for the safe disposal of napkins by girls and women teachers.

A problem left unattended till now, this step follows a protracted initiative by officials to impress upon schools the need for such a facility in the school for civic-friendly disposal of napkins. The initiative finally bore fruit, with a few schools, including Manapparai Government Girls' Higher Secondary School and Somarasampettai Government Higher Secondary School taking the lead recently and a handful of other government and aided schools following suit.

Left with no other alternative, girls and women teachers hitherto used to dump napkins in toilets, which had led to the frequent clogging of pipelines.There have also been instances of girls dropping out of schools, especially in rural areas, after reaching puberty owing to embarrassment caused by the absence of a safe mechanism for the disposal of soiled napkins.

Another dimension of the issue, explained by officials in pursuit of the remedial measure, was the absenteeism of adolescent girl students, especially in rural areas, during the menstrual cycle. Now, 15 schools have begun installing incinerators. Henceforth, schools with this facility would be required to burn the napkins at periodic intervals and dispose the residue by washing them down the pipelines.

In order to speed up the process of installation of incinerators in all schools where adolescent girls study, the Chief Educational Officer, Baskara Setupathi, has issued circulars empowering the institutions to draw between Rs.750 and Rs.1,000 from the Parents-Teachers Association Fund. The institutions have also been warned against delaying the installation of the facility.

The CEO, who acted at the instance of the Secretary of Rural Development, Santha Sheela Nair, told The Hindu that safe means of waste disposal in educational institutions was also a priority of the Central Government.

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