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

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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