HYDERABAD: Celebrate The Blood. That was the theme of the day-long seminar, ‘Menstrual Festival’ hosted on the eve of Menstrual Hygiene Day on Saturday (May 28) by Good Universe – a society of social workers, professionals, health care specialists and likeminded people, on Sunday at Sarath City Capital Mall, Kondapur. The event brought all the stakeholders on a platform and devise ways to break this silence and change the narrative of taboos around menstruation.
As part of a panel session, Arun Kumar, CEO, Elemantra Enterprises said that most women flush the pads down the toilet, but this leads to choking of the drains or it settling in a water body into which the drain empties, leading to pollution of the lake. The other option is throwing it in the bin, but the sanitary workers or the animals digging into the waste can get infected and spread it. Dr Anusha Pilli said a survey done by Good Universe with a sample of 500 educated women, found that 92% of them use commercial pads and the frequency of changing the pad is just about twice a day, which is harmful to their health.
“Also menstrual waste is not being disposed of properly. The survey also focussed on disposal of menstrual, it was found that the sanitary workers who collect waste from residences and dump yards, find the menstrual waste to be the most loathsome to pick-up and when they are left at the municipal dumps, the animals feed on them and contract infections, which in turn are passed on to human beings,” she added. Also, the plastic lining in the commercial pads is indigestible for animals, proving to be fatal to them.
Sapna Karthik, Vice Chairperson HYLC said there are lots of menstrual product alternatives available in the market, but reusable pads are recommended over others, though it has challenges like drying it, with little personal space in urban areas, with taboo associated in they being dried in open space. But reusable pads are very economical and easy on maintenance. As against rural women who have invented sustainable menstrual options and opt for them, urban women have very limited options.
Sudhakar Rao said that we need to talk, open up the conversation on it, to make it a normal thing like any other subject. Dr Prabha Agrawal said, the plastic used in pads can lead to various infections and health problems and also lead to infertility in women. Blogger Namrata Bhagtani from Momspresso and Youtuber Taskeen Fathima of The Urban Fight talked about using social media to make periods sound like a part of life. “Let’s start demystifying periods when your six-year-old nephew asks in the drawing room,” said Namrata.
Taskeen talked about how movies such as Padman and Period, End of Sentence have started creating a dialogue and that is setting the ball rolling in the right direction. Moderator of the session, Niharika, ended the event with how everyone should be a part of this movement to normalise periods and find solutions to problems.
The Menstrual Festival in the city on Sunday was an attempt to normalise periods and get talking about it