BENGALURU: The buzz word in recent times is sustainability, and Bengaluru girl Guhar Goyal, who is one of the finalists of the Future Leaders programme by 1M1B Foundation, recognises this. Which is why she is creating awareness about sustainable menstrual solutions, hygiene problems and the risk to the environment caused by sanitary pads. All this through her project ‘Green Periods’. The 17-year-old is a part of the programme by 1M1B Foundation (Million for 1 Billion)-a United Nations accredited nonprofit organisation that aims to activate one million young leaders who will impact one billion people for a sustainable planet.
The programme recognises young people who work at the grassroots and demonstrates how their actions are driving fulfillment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goyal is one of the finalists with 40 to 45 other students to speak at the United Nations in December 2021. Letting us in on what led her to the idea of her initiative, Goyal says, “When I got my first period, I wasn’t comfortable using sanitary pads which would often lead to rashes. It was then that my mom introduced me to reusable cloth pads. I felt like this was a great discovery and the biggest lifestyle change that I underwent.” This change encouraged her to share her experience with others. Now, she is hoping to educate people about sustainable menstruation products such as cloth pads and cups.
“Green Periods’ simply translates to sustainable periods and the color green represents the environment and sustainability,” she adds. A student of Neev Academy, she plans to file a petition that recognises sanitary pads as a medical product, and ensure that manufacturers disclose all the contents of the product. “Research proves that sanitary pads contain harmful chemicals like styrene, chloroform, and chloromethane which are not supposed to come in direct contact with blood and sensitive parts of the body. I believe that just filing a petition itself would gain awareness and create noise,” says Goyal.
Goyal’s project has received a fundraiser of R1 lakh which was used to buy 200 menstrual cups for Covid-19 frontline workers. During the Swachh Survekshan 2021 event, she distributed more than 80 menstrual cups to pourakarmikas. The Class 12 student plans to do her undergraduate studies in the US and will be carrying on with her project alongside. Through her Instagram account (@greenperiods) she hopes to convey ideas and have a greater influence on society. “There aren’t many people who know the damage these products can cause. It’s something that needs to be addressed,” she says.