Nisha hopes to install the incinerators in washrooms in bus stations, railway stations, apartment complexes, corporates, schools and BBMP offices.

Disposing sanitary pads made easy pollution free thanks to this Bluru womanNisha Nazre (L), the incinerator (R)
news Innovation Friday, December 29, 2017 - 17:56

What happens to your sanitary pad once you throw it away?

It either ends up with the rest of the trash in a landfill, where it lies for hundreds of years thanks to the plastic components used in it. Or it will be burnt, releasing toxic chemicals. A pad, including its plastic components, can only combust completely when heated to a temperature of 800 degrees Celsius for 4-5 minutes.

It is then not difficult to understand why the 113,000 tonnes of sanitary waste generated annually is a matter of grave concern.

Enter Nisha Nazre, a Bengaluru-based social worker who has worked for years on a machine which will allow for the incineration of sanitary pads in a pollution-free way.

It all started a few years ago when Nisha had to step out to dispose some trash and sanitary waste, and give to a pourakarmika. She noticed that he was observing a religious festival. And while acknowledging that the idea that menstruating women should not go into prayer rooms is archaic and regressive, she felt bad for the pourakarmika for not having an option.

“Besides, why should they have to handle incorrectly disposed sanitary waste with their bare hands when it’s something we wouldn’t want to do?” she questions.

Now, about three years later, Nisha’s company Zuci Fem Care Private Limited has built a pollution free incinerator for sanitary pads. The testing is expected to be finished by end January 2018, after which Nisha hopes to have the incinerators installed in washrooms in bus stations, railway stations, apartment complexes, corporates, schools and BBMP offices.

Used pads can be dropped into the incinerator in a paper bag. The incinerator, Nisha explains, works by using multiple chambers. In one of the chambers, water is used to weigh down the smoke produced from burning the pads, ensuring that there isn’t a foul smell or pollution.

The machine will come in two variants – a basic model which will cost around Rs 1 lakh and a high-end one which will cost around Rs 2.5 lakh. However, the prices have not been fixed yet.

Nisha says that the incinerator can dispose off at least 20 pads at once in a 10 to 12 minute cycle.

However, she also notes that the incinerator is the second step – the first is to segregate waste. “It is high time that we segregate waste in a way which makes disposal feasible and easier. At the rate at which we are degrading the environment with our laziness, it is of paramount importance,” she says.

Nisha has been in talks with the Bengaluru Mayor, who she says is keen on making the incinerator big in the city.

Her four-member team also includes Chandrashekhar, who was previously with the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, and is now providing technical assistance to her team.

But the journey towards getting here has been fraught with challenges. For starters, Nisha initially didn’t receive support from her family when she presented the idea before them. “But now, my father is the Director of my company (Zuci Fem),” she beams.

She also faced a situation when her idea was stolen by another supplier in Telangana about three months ago. However, Nisha was not completely satisfied with the product at that time as it was still emitting a foul smell. As a result, though she was very disturbed by the theft, it ultimately did not work out for the supplier.

Now, after over three years of hard work, Nisha believes that this incinerator is the product she set out to build.

“Ultimately, I just want to do my bit for the environment and society,” she says.

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.