Being a woman we’re blessed with being a source of life. It’s about time we take the charge to sustain it. It can be done if we bleed green.
Is green menstruation possible? Literally, No! Practically, Yes! On this occasion of World Environment Day, we escalate our #PeriodTalk to a higher level which encompasses conversing not only about sanitizing ourselves but also our Planet Earth.
This is feasible if we inculcate the term 'Sustainable Menstruation' in our lives, preach about it as if there's no alternative as good as this and thus start our sustainable periods to lessen the plastic footprints we leave behind. Before we start talking about the greener side of the periods, it's crucial to present you with the devastating and disheartening reality of period poverty. Period poverty is a hindrance for many women who can't afford basic sanitary products, enough to tide them for a month and which we take for granted.
Waste generation is indispensable and certainly can't be stopped altogether, but reduction is something which we can all aim for. To begin with the pros of the biodegradable products, I’d like to start with the cons. According to some reports, an average menstruating woman uses 200 kg of menstrual products in her lifetime and a single pad takes 500-800 years to decompose. In India, it’s estimated that 121 million girls and women dispose of about 21.7 billion pads annually and they eventually end up clogging the sewage systems, landfills, and water bodies, in turn hampering aquatic life. Pads can contain up to 90% of plastic while tampons have 9% (including packaging). Some people burn/incinerate pads, which release toxic gases, which are carcinogenic, adding more to the Greenhouse Effect.
It has been a common notion that reusing a sanitary product is unhygienic. Many people cringe at the idea of washing up a used cloth pad and refrain from reusing the same for the same or next cycle. They are also averse to the idea of inserting a menstrual cup into their vagina. However reusing is safe and hygienic as long as one takes care and maintains the product properly and knows the right ways of washing and drying them.
But a smart and responsible woman should do her math and foresee the underlying consequences these not so Eco-friendly products inherit. As the privileged ones, we're morally obliged to switch to the sustainable menstrual practices and biodegradable products to do our mother Earth or rather ourselves a favor. Using products like tampons (without the applicator), at the initial stage of the switch, menstrual cups, cloth pads and period panties have a significantly small impact on the environment and are also typically cheap in the longer term. Several producers and organizations are affiliated to Green the Red, a national campaign of the Eco warriors which create awareness and educate the menstruators and hence bridge the information gap between the people's will to bring about a change and the real-life execution of the same.
Thus by generating awareness, educating others about Eco-friendly alternatives, and taking the littlest of little initiatives ourselves we can step forward towards green periods and even a greener future.
Written by Devanshi Pandey