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We celebrated the World Menstrual Hygiene Day and the World Environment Day just recently! The whole shift from using reusable cloths to disposable sanitary napkins, tampons, and menstrual cups is really encouraging women to adopt safe and hygienic menstrual practices. One such good period practice is to dump a used sanitary pad carefully.
Menstrual health is one thing women should always take into consideration. The disposal of the waste generated out of sanitary pads and tampons remains a big issue both at a personal and community level. But, the problems that come with it can be contained with proper disposal of used menstrual products.
Health Shots spoke to Dr Yamini Patel, MS Obgyn, and IVF specialist, Love N Care Hospital, Surat, who rolled out tips to dump a sanitary pad in the correct way.
Dr Patel says, “Practicing safe disposal techniques are important for our health and hygiene as well as for our ecosystem as most of these products are non-recyclable. Sadly in India, we still lack hygienic and safe public toilets around and many times there are no dustbins too. Several times, women throw the used products in a corner of the toilet or flush them out which eventually clogs the whole drainage system. But that needs to be prevented.”
“We should make sure that the dustbin remains closed as the blood from the pad can eventually grow harmful bacteria. These pathogens may cause fatal health issues if one comes in contact with them or they pollute the water bodies. The foul smell in the bathroom may cause inconvenience and if not disposed of daily, they can even cause infections and air pollution.” adds Dr Patel.
“The proper way of disposal at home or at the workplace is to wrap the used pad or tampon in a waste paper or paper cover provided with the product itself and throw it in a dustbin. If the individual packets are torn then alternatively the pads can be wrapped in old newspapers. Avoid using poly bags and plastic wraps before discarding the pads as it may exceed the breakdown time of pads which is already a lot.
“Take a paper that sufficiently wraps around. Leaving no portion uncovered, wrap the used pad in it and throw it in the dustbin. Do not forget to discard them in the community dustbins everyday,” Dr Patel told Healthshots.
In villages, women practice burying the menstrual products. It’s not the last answer but at least it gives a temporary solution.
At a community level, incinerators and deep burial are the options but looking at our already exhausted health systems, we are in a dire need of sustainable practices. Switch to good quality menstrual cups as it may solve the menstrual waste issues at a personal level. Organic and recyclable pads are also encouraging and we hope we can have more affordable and recyclable menstrual products available in markets.