Used sanitary napkins, condoms choking city

Jan 15, 2013, 08:27 IST | Vivek Sabnis

According to a recent survey, the civic body collects around 2.5 lakh used napkins daily; contraceptives, littered pads not only choke drains, but also pose serious health problems

Drainage and solid waste disposal are major challenges forany city. However, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is facing a unique problem. According to a recent survey, a staggering 2.5 lakh used sanitary napkins are being flushed down toilets or end up littering pavements everyday, says a recent survey.

The extensive survey conducted by the civic body along with Bharatiya Shree Shikshan Jagran (BSSJ), a non-governmental organisation, found that this biological waste is choking drains and is a direct threat to public health.

Clean and clear: The sanitary napkins are collected in pink bags by Swach workers

Having realised the gravity of the problem, the civic body has decided to install incinerators at various places across the city to ensure scientific disposal of solid waste.

Suresh Jagtap, assistant commissioner, PMC (Solid Waste Management), said, “Used sanitary napkins and condoms are a concern for the city and the environment. Considering the damage used pads cause, we are suggesting installation of incinerators at all 15 wards within the PMC limits.”

Don’t litter
Mukta Tilak, BJP corporator, said, “The survey indicates that PMC collects 2,50,000 used napkins every day, and the study on disposal of sanitary napkins was much-awaited. Besides, it also indicates that there is no provision for disposing sanitary napkins for 63 per cent women at their respective work places.”

Mayor Vaishali Bankar, who has taken a keen interest in creating an awareness of disposing sanitary napkins, said, “We want to create awareness about using sanitary napkins instead of the use of cloths for maintaining menstrual hygiene in females from the age group between 14 to 48 year.”
The civic body is now also contemplating conducting another survey on disposal of used condoms, which are equally hazardous.

“We are conducting a special survey on the issue of collecting used condoms. Simultaneously, an awareness drive would be undertaken to show how a used condom should be wrapped and disposed off safely. As per the current estimates, there may be about half to one tonne of used condoms collected from all over the city’s waste bins, including all the 10 Sewerage Treatment Plants (STP),” said Jagtap.

Dr Dinesh Bende, PMC health officer, said, “Disposal of used condoms is a big issue, as we find them in big numbers across STP plants everyday. The condom user should ecologically dispose a used condom so that rag pickers don’t come in contact with it while picking it from garbage bins.” Swach, an NGO, is taking action.

“We have given special bags, masks and gloves to rag pickers to pick up the sanitary napkins. We are asking for additional equipments for the PMC rag pickers,” said Laxmi Narayan from Swach.

First incinerator in Koregaon Park
Vanita Vagaskar, corporator, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), said, “We are taking a initiative and spending Rs 2 lakh to install a incinerator at Burning Hut, a public garden in Koregaon Park. It is easier to install the incinerator, as we have already been designated as a ‘zero garbage’ ward. As garbage is collected by the civic body from every house, the sanitary napkins and diapers would be collected in a similar manner.”

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