Kerala government has set yet another example for other state governments as one of the municipalities in the state distributed 5,000 free menstrual cups to women in need.
A municipality helping women for proper sanitation is nothing new. The reason why this step is catching eyeballs is because Kerala’s Alappuzha municipality thought of distributing free menstrual cups instead of sanitary pads as a safety measure to protect the environment.
According to a CSR report, 113, 000 tonnes of menstrual waste is generated in India annually which majorly consists of used sanitary pads. These pads are made of synthetic and plastic material which takes thousands of years in decomposing.
Cotton and cloth counterparts are also available in the market, however, they cost a fortune for people who can barely afford two square meals a day.
In such a situation, it is commendable that Alappuzha municipality of Kerala has taken a step to protect the environment and help women at the same time.
According to various news reports, the idea of distributing free menstrual cups in place of sanitary pads saw it’s birth last year when Kerala was hit by devastating floods.
A huge number of used sanitary pads were collected from various releif camps last year. That’s when the risk from this hazardous waste hit the authorities.
The distribution of free menstrual cups is being carried out under the ‘Thinkal’ project of Alappuzha municipality which is a collaboration with the CSR initiative of Coal India Limited.
The project kickstarted on Saturday with a daily distribution of 500 free menstrual cups to women till mid-day. A cap of 500 per day is kept in order to avoid wastage, misuse and commercial use of these menstrual cups.
There is a proper mechanism of registration with valid ID card and contact details before a woman can obtain a free menstrual cup from the municipality.
The distribution is being carried out from the front office of Alappuzha municipality and the Kudumbashree office at Kaichoondimukku.
S. Jahamgeer, the municipal secretary of the municipality, gave his statement to TOI explaining how this project helps in efficient waste management.
“A woman, on an average, uses nearly 160 sanitary napkins a year. A menstrual cup can be used for five or six years – replacing about 780 napkins. Think of the amount of plastic waste it would reduce, and the amount of money that can be saved. These 5,000 cups – if used by five thousand women – would itself save about Rs 40 lakh.”
Additionally, the counsellors and workers at the municipality are being trained on the usage of menstrual cups and how they are much more beneficial for both women and the environment.
Hence, the project is achieving dual purpose: It is helping in protecting the environment as well as making masses aware about menstrual cups.
The program is also generating awareness about their usage in order to get rid of the stigma associated with them and inn turn conserve environment.
This is not the first time when Kerala’s Alappuzha district has made it to national and international news. This district has already been recognised by UN’s UNEP (United Nations’ Environment Program) for its effective waste management and for being one of the 5 cities in the world to come up with solutions for effectively dealing with their solid waste generation entirely!
You go, Kerala. It’s about time other states in India learn a thing or two from the god’s own country!
Picture Credits: Google Images
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