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November 13, 2014 05:34 AM

Ankur Tewari

Incinerator Makes Disposal Effective And Eco-Friendly
When Priya Shah started menstruating, she used to flush her sanitary pads down the toilet. She was trapped in a quan dary at her workplace where she felt uneasy disposing of her pads.
But thanks to a Gujarati woman, Swati Bedekar, getting rid of pads is no longer an anxiety-ridden task for thousands of women like Shah. Now, all that women need to do is put the pads inside a terracotta pot and burn them. By doing this, women are also protecting the environment from pollution and littering. The ash produced, when mixed with soil, nourishes plants and boosts yields.

Bedekar has developed terracotta and cement incinerators to especially help girls in schools and women in offices to dispose of their pads without littering. Bedekar has got these incinerators, Ashudhinashak', called ` installed in a large number of schools, hospitals and universities in Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra.

These incinerators have also won hearts in rural Gujarat. Many hospitals, primary health centres, and village panchayats have installed `Ashudhdhinashak'. Some places where the incinerator is being used are: Chopat Palli village in Dohad, Bhayli in Vadodara, and Baska, Halol and Jambughoda in Panchmahal. Recently, Bedekar also installed an incinerator in the MSU.

According to experts, sanitary napkins take between 500 and 800 years to decompose. Experts say the average Indian woman in urban areas throws away more than 10,000 disposable pads in her lifetime! If every woman of repro ductive age starts using sanitary napkins, a stag gering 58,500 million waste from pads would be generated in India every year.

Ashudhdhinashak' ` does not spread foul odor, prevents air borne spread of bacte rial diseases, burns the used napkins and turns them into ash without spreading smoke. It has also become a source of livelihood for potters whom Bedekar has trained to manufacture these incinerators. `Ashudhdhinashak' costs just Rs 1,500 and one incinerator can provide service to 100 women.

Bedekar says, “Disposing of sanitary napkins has always been a concern due to the taboos attached to women's menstrual cycles

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