If you’ve started segregating your waste, you know that the two main types of waste are dry and wet waste. However, there are also some other types of waste that are difficult to categorize, such as biomedical waste and plastic waste. Soiled sanitary napkins fall under the category of biomedical waste.
The regular sanitary napkins that most of us use are not biodegradable, meaning that they do not get broken down and do not get mixed in the soil. As per the Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling Rules) 1998, any items that are contaminated with blood or body fluids should be incinerated, microwaved or autoclaved (it is a type of heated container that sterilizes objects) in order to destroy the pathogens (any microorganism that could result in disease). But what do we do? Wrap it in paper or plastic (!) and throw it away with dry or regular waste.
The problem with this method of disposal is that it cannot be properly disposed of once your garbage collector takes it away. Sanitary pads contain plastic as the main raw material, as well as super absorbent polymer and chlorine bleach. Once you dispose the napkin, the bleach can release toxic chemicals, some of which are carcinogenic while the rest can mix up in water bodies and contaminate the same.
It was with this thought in mind that Shyamsunder Bedekar from Vadodara, Gujarat, decided to do something that would help dispose of sanitary napkins in an eco-friendly manner. The innovator has created an incinerator that is made of terracotta and concrete and is meant for home use. Named “Ashudhdhinashak,” the incinerator is being first used in rural India to help women dispose of their sanitary waste in a more hygienic way.
How Does It Work?
The incinerator has an accumulation chamber with a mesh below it. You have to open the lid at the top, throw the soiled napkin inside and ignite it with paper or dry grass. As the napkin burns, the ash drops through the mesh and gets collected at the bottom. You can ignite a good amount of sanitary napkins and let the ash accumulate at the bottom, which can then be used as a fertilizer (the accumulated ash is actually wood pulp).
The incinerator costs INR 2000 and at present, Shyamsunder Bedekar has helped to install more than 2000 of these at various schools, hostels and universities that fall under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, as well as in certain villages.
We’re hoping that even as this unique innovation helps women in rural India, it is also made available in urban parts of the country to help more and more women dispose their sanitary waste in a more hygienic and eco-friendly way.
What do you think ladies?
Image source: Pixabay