The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will soon install sanitary napkin vending machines and incinerators in 172 of Mumbai’s secondary civic schools over the next six months. The proposal, which costs Rs1.93 crore, has been passed by the civic body’s standing committee.
The proposal states that only 12% women in India have access to sanitary pads.There is also a lack of proper mechanisms to dispose of used napkins. The proposal states that disposing of a used sanitary pad in the open can produce 1 lakh germs.
Girl students in civic schools will be given metallic coins that can be inserted in to the vending machines in exchange for a pad. “We are thinking of giving 10 coins a month to each girl student. We will introduce metallic coins to prevent misuse of the machines,” said JR Keluskar, deputy education officer, BMC.
In 2015, the BMC started a pilot project to curb clogged drains in community toilets. Officials said the drains were clogged as sanitary napkins were being flushed. Thus, two incinerators to process used sanitary napkins were installed in the Mankhurd and Bhandup slums.
While the initial plan was to install 100 such incinerators in different slum pockets, it was stalled owing to budgetary sanctions, said a civic official from the BMC’s Slum Sanitation Programme.
Officials from the civic body’s solid waste management department have estimated that napkins and diapers account for 6% of the 8,500 metric tonnes of garbage produced in the city. Through such projects, the BMC is looking at ways to dispose of this waste at the source.
“It is an excellent initiative that will help many girl students. The BMC must ask private schools to take up similar projects,” said Anuradha Pednekar, a Shiv Sena corporator and a standing committee member.