VISAKHAPATNAM: Girl students from the tribal villages in Araku are not aware of Women’s Day. But as women, they too want to make a difference and do their bit for the environment. And how? These students are promoting the use of eco-friendly reusable cloth pads instead of the usual sanitary napkins to reduce the number of sanitary pads going into garbage landfill by February 2018. The students also plan to educate their urban counterparts when they visit Araku about the importance of using these reusable pads.
Called Pad4Pad programme, the cloth kit can be used for almost two years. Donated free of cost by Auroville in Puducherry, each kit of ‘Ecofemme’ consists of four reusable cloth pads in a special bag. Already, 400 kits have been distributed to students in the age group of 11 to 16 years from two Government Tribal Welfare Ashram Schools (GTWAS) at Kothaballaguda and Ganella and there are plans to distribute the kits among 1,500 students in phases as well as make them join the cloth pad revolution. Each kit costs Rs 475 in the market. Markers have been used to write the students’ names on the side of the kits so that the pads don’t get interchanged for hygienic reasons.
Facilitator of the programme, Jayshree Hatangadi said, “I had shared with Auroville the problems of these students, their plight with filth in toilets and garbage disposal. So, they agreed to start this programme. Under this, some women in developed countries like Japan and Sweden pay more for their Ecofemme set so that underprivileged girls in some other countries can use these kits and in turn lessen the garbage burden on the earth.”
“We wanted to ensure that students residing in ecologically-fragile areas like Araku understand the need to use cloth pads and not just take the kits and keep it. So, they were told how long objects take to completely disintegrate into the earth. Research has indicated that it might take around 500 years for usual sanitary pads to completely disintegrate because the pads are made of compressed cotton containing certain chemicals and are packed in plastic packets. Demo about the use and care of the cloth pads were also shown to the girls,” added Hatangadi.
A student, K Maheshwari from the school at Kothaballaguda, said, “It’s good to use reusable cloth pads as it means our school toilets won’t be stuffed with sanitary pads and the environment would be cleaner. As women, it’s our choice to use the cloth pads for those days of the month. At least, we can do our bit for the earth rather than adding to the pollution.”
News Source: TOI