You roll it, chuck it, sparing a little thought on what will happen to sanitary pads after use. About 336 million girls and women experience menstruation in India, out of which approximately 121 million use disposable sanitary napkins.
Nearly 70 per cent of women living in urban India use sanitary pads compared to 48 per cent women in rural India. If we roughly take the number of sanitary pads used per menstrual cycle as eight, over 12.3 billion disposable sanitary pads are generated every year. The disposal of such plastic pads have become a huge concern.
According to Menstrual Health Alliance India, one sanitary pad could take 500 to 800 years to decompose as the plastic used is non-biodegradable and can lead to health and environmental hazards. Considering 36 per cent of the menstruating females use sanitary napkins, their environmental footprint is high. Most of these pads have over 90 per cent plastics and each pad is an equivalent to four plastic bags. Data on menstrual waste management from the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) shows that 28 per cent of such pads are thrown with routine waste, 28 per cent are thrown in open, 33 per cent are disposed via burial and 15 per cent are burnt openly.