Used Sanitary Napkins Pose Serious Health Hazards

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A study by Delhi-based NGO Chintan has found that nearly 432 million pieces or 9,000 tonnes of used sanitary napkins are generated every month in various Indian towns and cities. This is openly dumped in landfills where ragpickers, most of them children, come in contact with them, contracting diseases through various kinds of bacteria.

Further, the government has no policy on treating menstrual waste. It is neither bracketed as biomedical waste (which needs to be incinerated or given deep burial as per the Central Pollution Control Board guidelines), nor categorised as plastic waste (which puts the onus on the manufacturing company for its end disposal). As a result, they continue to choke our landfills.

Bharati Chaturvedi of Chintan said: “A sanitary napkin comprises over 90 per cent crude oil plastic with the rest as chlorinebleached wood or cotton pulp. This multilayered product does not degenerate even after decades in the soil.”

“Currently in India, it is neither segregated as wet nor dry waste under the Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000. Mixing it with general household waste, alongside other extremely harmful bodily waste such as condoms, bandaids, diapers, adult diapers, cotton swabs, exposes ragpickers to a range of dangerous ailments. Physical health apart, it is also an affront to human dignity.”

Source: Yahoo! (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
public health