20 October, 2020

Disposable Pads Are A Hazard, A Look At Some Alternatives

With India’s menstrual waste estimated at 1,13,000 tonnes annually, many NGOs and groups are working around the problem of waste and the health consequences of disposable pads.

Blood Cloth
Kavya Menon, during a three-day ride to the Nilgiris while on her period, with a cloth pad drying on the bike handles
Disposable Pads Are A Hazard, A Look At Some Alternatives

Braced against the bitter cold, riding for 18 hours each day and stopping to make camp beneath the stars, Kavya Menon completed an arduous three-day motorbike trip to the Nilgiri Hills. Accompanied by her husband and other riders, she was armed only with the bare necessities of life, including a set of cloth pads—because she was on her period. She would change and wash her pads at public toilets or petrol pumps, drying them over the handles of her bike while on the move. “The wind and the sun helped it to dry,” she tells Outlook.

Menon, a biotechnologist, had been looking forward to the ride for a long time—but, on the morning when they were due to set off, she found that her period had arrived ahead of schedule. Initially hesitant, she steeled herself and decided to carry on, ­determined to break taboos and bust myths like “don’t run, don’t ride”.

She is the founder of a Chennai-based collective that deals with menstruation, with focus areas including health rights, environmental impact,...



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