Menstrual Hygiene: Telangana Students Make Device To Dry Cloth Sanitary Napkins
New Delhi: Recognising menstrual hygiene as a major issue of concern, K Shravanthi, a third-year engineering student of BV Raju Institute of Technology Telangana’s Narsapur along with two other friends, Ch Mahesh Chandra and K Saiteja has made a device that can help in drying cloth sanitary napkins properly.
The idea came when they came across an innovation challenge called Youth for Social Impact organised by the Telangana State Innovation Cell. They came up with Hygiea, a device that can sterilise and dry pads using UV light.
“Many women are hesitant to dry cloth sanitary napkins out in the open. Improper drying leads to the growth of microbes in the pads that can cause infection for the users. We wanted to do something to solve this problem,” K Shravanthi told News18.
“After our prototype was selected as one of the best 10 ideas, we spoke to women and stakeholders in NGOs to understand what they would expect from the product. A few suggested that the device should come with a washing unit too. We are working on these suggestions and developing the final product. The device can be used to sterilise menstrual cups, cloth baby diapers and foldable napkins too,” Shravanthi was quoted as saying.
According to a survey conducted by these students, 61.8% of women feel that the issue of periods is still taboo. They also found that over 66% of women face rashes that can be caused by unhygienic pads.
“We hope that our product can help women bring down menstruation expenses while using eco-friendly products. We are looking for investors while we fine-tune our product and roll it out in the market,” the students told News18.
What a report says
A report titled ‘Menstrual Products and their disposal’, published by Toxics Link, an environmental research organisation, says that according to The Menstrual Hygiene Alliance of India, roughly 121 million out of 332 million women use disposable sanitary napkins (with an estimation of 8 pads a month), leading to 1.021 billion pads being disposed monthly or over 12.3 billion disposable sanitary pads every year. This would mean an annual menstrual waste generation of around 113,000 tonnes. Disposable sanitary napkins are generally made of 90% plastic and keeping in mind the adhesives, packing, etc., each pad is equivalent to around four plastic bags. In such a scenario, the use of biodegradable menstrual products needs to be promoted.