–BY Sreelakshmi, Reeha
A few days ago while scrolling through our news feed on Facebook,we came across a link posted by a website named youthkiawaaz.com.The link redirected to an article where it spoke at length about the ordeal faced by garbage pickers when they collected waste from households,especially poorly wrapped sanitary napkins.It highlighted the plight of a lady named Manwara Begum who goes around 300 houses to collect garbage everyday.They pay her in cash-not in dignity.Unwrapped sanitary waste exposes them to harmful pathogens like staphylococcus,hepatitis,E coli,salmonella,typhoid,etc. The humiliation that Manwara faces everyday isn’t unique. Waste-pickers and waste-collectors across urban India experience it daily. Even when women wrap them up in newspapers, it is not distinguishable from other waste items and invariably ends up being opened.
In order to combat this,manufacturers should provide consumers adequately sized,separate and unique bags to discard the sanitary towels. Even if people in houses try to prevent this, they are unable to do so because the packaging provided by manufacturers for consumer-use are often insufficient for this purpose.
We went on to surf the internet for more details regarding this and apparently Pune’s SWaCH waste cooperative in collaboration with PMC has launched a Red Dot campaign where the volunteers used their creativity to request people to securely wrap their sanitary waste in a newspaper and mark it with a “red dot”,which in turn helps them segregate the waste accordingly without the need of opening it.With the help of tshirts,mugs,mini push carts,posters and other merchandise,the campaign has made a great impact on the society.Extensive door to door outreach on the subject is being done to those residents who were not in favour of the campaign initially since the campaign coincides with a year long training program for SWaCH workers to improve their advocacy and awareness about sanitary issues.
This issue has intrigued us in such a way that it urged us to start an online petition on change.org.The link has been posted below.Those who wish to voice their opinion and bring about a change,please go ahead and cast your vote!