While the subject of menstruation is considered a taboo in India, the Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation in Kerala, has launched a project to promote sustainable menstruation.
Project ‘Cloth pads’ is an initiative taken by the municipal corporation to make access to sanitary napkins easy.
According to an AC Nielsen report, number of girls in India who use sanitary napkin in 2010 was 12%, which increased to 45% by 2014. This increase in use of commercial sanitary napkins has led to problems of disposal, as they are made of non-biodegradable materials.
To address this issue, Hindustan Latex Ltd (HLL) came up with production and distribution of cloth pads. The civic body, along with HLL will install vending machines in public spaces such as public toilets, railway stations and schools. The first 1,620 pads will be available for free and thereafter they will be charged Rs 10 for three sanitary pads.
“After the onset of puberty, girls are not that mature and shy to go to a medical store and ask for sanitary napkins. In order to promote the use of these napkins, vending machines will be installed even in schools, so that the student can use one and carry the rest home, in a way, cultivating this hygienic practice,” an HLL official said.
Commercially available sanitary napkin cost a lot of money which makes them less affordable.
With vending machines at public places, women will not only have easy access to the napkins but its low price also makes the pads affordable.
HLL has approached the Zilla Panchayats to install these machines in the villages too, as rural areas are the places where women are still practicing old unhygienic methods.
“We are getting in touch with the zilla panchayats about this. We had run a similar initiative in 250 rural areas in Andhra Pradesh and it has been a part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan,” the HLL official said.
HLL claims that the cloth pads are made from natural pulp and has no side effects like rashes.