Wednesday December 19, 2018

Red is the new green- Campaign by a Mumbai woman to educate women about menstrual cycles

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Celebrating Womanhood. Image source Wikipedia
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A step taken by Deane de Menezes for a cleaner environment

  • Saving the environment from the non-degradable waste is also a very big factor
  • Deane de Menezes takes steps to educate women about both
  • Sanitary napkin vendor machines and incinerators in schools soon

50% of girls in India had no knowledge of menstruation before their first period. According to Arundati Muralidharan of WaterAid India, 88% girls and women who menstruate use unsafe materials, and 70% mothers think periods are dirty found a study in 2014.

Lacking awareness in this sector worries Deane de Menezes. Whispers along the line, menstruation has always been a taboo. But what w really miss is the bigger picture- The Environment.

Hygiene tips. Image source Menstrupedia
Hygiene tips. Image source Menstrupedia

Deane de Menezes, a 22 year old research associate in international analytical company CRISIL decided to do something about it. She started Red is the new green campaign where they are installing sanitary napkin dispensers and incinerators in Mumbai’s schools and create awareness of hygienic practices during menstruation. Not only providing sanitary napkins is a worry, but the waste generated by it is a bigger problem. “Every day, rag pickers are exposed to infections and other health hazards when handling feminine hygiene discards,” Menezes explained. “I’ve spoken to garbage men who have told me stories about how they have to segregate the waste and touch pads with their bare hands.”

Sanitary napkin vending machines in Japan. Image source wikimedia commons
Sanitary napkin vending machines in Japan. Image source wikimedia commons

“An average woman eliminates about 150kg of mostly non-biodegradable absorbents every year.” a study by periodofchange, a campaign that seeks safe, hygienic and sustainable menstrual hygiene products. Menezes aims to educate schoolgirls about alternative methods of disposing napkins carefully. With funding from CRISIL, she is working to install vending machines and incinerators in the Auxilium Convent High School Wadala, an eastern suburb of Mumbai. The vending machines and incinerators will also be installed in the school’s branch in Bandra’s Pali Hill, Bandra. “Other than that, we would like to give the girls a small pouch to keep their pads in a clean and safe manner,” she said. The vending machine and incinerator will be up by June 17.

She has already conducted sessions with schoolgirls about the importance of proper hygiene and how can they do their bit to save the environment.

-by Vrushali Mahajan

Vrushali is pursuing her graduation in Journalism and an intern at NewsGram. Twitter handle- Vrushali Mahajan 

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  • Pritam Go Green

    This is highly appreciable. Still our old generation thinks menstruation as a taboo. In schools proper knowledge should be given in the primary level itself. One shouldn’t feel shy in knowing all this or in talking about it. It is just a natural healthy phenomenon. Nd most imp thing one should know that ” No female becomes dirty during her menstrual cycle.” This is totally a rubbish thought !!

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Yes, this type of education should be given at a primary level so that girls know what exactly to be done hen they go through their menstrual cycles.

  • devika todi

    this is a great initiative! the lack of knowledge regarding something so natural is appalling. by educating students about it from a young age, we are infusing awareness and acceptance in the society.

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  • Pritam Go Green

    This is highly appreciable. Still our old generation thinks menstruation as a taboo. In schools proper knowledge should be given in the primary level itself. One shouldn’t feel shy in knowing all this or in talking about it. It is just a natural healthy phenomenon. Nd most imp thing one should know that ” No female becomes dirty during her menstrual cycle.” This is totally a rubbish thought !!

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Yes, this type of education should be given at a primary level so that girls know what exactly to be done hen they go through their menstrual cycles.

  • devika todi

    this is a great initiative! the lack of knowledge regarding something so natural is appalling. by educating students about it from a young age, we are infusing awareness and acceptance in the society.

Next Story

Researchers Look for Alternatives To Chemical Fertilizers for a Cleaner Environment

Too many nutrients in the water leads to poor water quality by causing hazardous algal blooms.

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Fertilizers
A farming woman spreads fertilizer in a paddy field. Flickr

Fertilizer is made of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. Chemical fertilizers require huge amounts of energy to produce. But there are other, natural and more readily available sources.

The University of Michigan, with support from the National Science Foundation, is working at making our water cleaner, and our agriculture more sustainable, by capturing one of those sources, rather than flushing it down the toilet.

On a hot summer afternoon near Brattleboro, Vermont, farmer Dean Hamilton has fired up his tractor and is fertilizing his hay field — with human urine.

It takes a bit of time to get used to, says environmental engineer Nancy Love.

“I’ve been surprised at how many people actually get beyond the giggle factor pretty quickly,” she said, “and are willing to listen.”

Fine-tuning the recycling

Rich Earth Institute, a nonprofit, is working with Love and her team. Abraham Noe-Hays says they are fine-tuning new methods to recycle urine into fertilizer.

“There’s a great quote by Buckminster Fuller about how pollution is nothing but the resources that we’re not harvesting, and that we allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value,” he said.

Harvesting the resource of urine — which is, after all, full of the same nutrients as chemical fertilizer — will fix two problems at once: eliminate waste and create a natural fertilizer.

The Rich Earth Institute has been using urine as fertilizer since 2012. Kim Nace says they collect about 26,000 liters a year, thanks to a loyal group of dedicated donors.

“We now have people who have some source-separating toilets in their homes. We also have people who have 55 gallon (200-liter) barrels where they collect and then we transport to our farms, and we’ve also got a large urine depot,” Nace said.

`fertilizers
Fertilizers. Wikimedia Commons

They pasteurize the urine to kill any microbes, and then it is applied directly onto hay fields like Hamilton’s.

Next level of project

Now that they’ve partnered with the University of Michigan, Love says they’re looking to take their project to the next level.

“There are three things we really are trying to do with the urine in this kind of next phase. We’re trying to concentrate it. We’re trying to apply technologies to reduce odor, and we’re trying to deal with trace contaminants like the pharmaceuticals,” she said.

Dealing with pharmaceuticals is an important issue. Heat urine kills germs but has no effect on chemicals like drugs that pass through our bodies.

“We know pharmaceuticals are a problem for aquatic organisms and water systems,” Love said. “It’s debatable about the impact on human health at very, very low levels. Independent of that, I think most people would prefer that they not be in their food.”

Fertilizers
Farmer Scott Halpin is facing another year of high prices for seed and fertilizer, and low prices for the corn and soybeans his family is planting on farmland outside Morris, Illinois.

21st century infrastructure

For Love, this is all about redesigning our wastewater infrastructure for the 21st century. Too many nutrients in the water leads to poor water quality by causing hazardous algal blooms.

“Our water emissions are going into very sensitive water bodies that are vulnerable to these nutrient loads,” she said. “We need to change that dynamic. And if we can capture them and put them to a beneficial use, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Also Read: Common Plastic Chemical May Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Their efforts could make agriculture greener and our waterways cleaner. (VOA)