New Delhi: The government on Thursday launched a biodegradable sanitary napkin called ‘Suvidha’ under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP).

Union minister for chemicals & fertilizers Ananthkumar, while launching the affordable sanitary napkin, said, it will be available for Rs2.50 per pad at over 3,200 Janaushadhi Kendras across India by 28 May, 2018 which is also the World Menstrual Hygiene Day.

“This is one of the most important requirements in ensuring health security to that section of women in India which still uses unhygienic aids during menstrual period due to non-affordability of some of the popular brands of sanitary napkins available in the market today," Ananthkumar said.

“Such unhygienic aids cause fungal infections, Reproductive Tract Infection, Urinary Tract Infection, Cervical cancer and also make women vulnerable to infertility. Moreover, the disposal of non-biodegradable sanitary napkins available today creates a huge environmental problem," he said.

A special additive is added in the Suvidha napkin which makes it 100% biodegradable when it reacts with oxygen after it is used and discarded. The average price of sanitary napkins available in the market currently is around Rs8 per pad. With Suvidha government aims to make the significant product affordable for underprivileged women.

According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, about 58% of women aged between 15 and 24 years use locally prepared napkins, sanitary napkins and tampons. Further, about 78% women in urban areas use hygienic methods of protection during menstrual period; only 48% women in rural areas have access to clean sanitary napkins.

According to Menstrual Health Alliance India, an NGO, sanitary napkins constitutes over 45% of menstrual waste, which is disposed off as routine waste along with other household garbage. This poses a major health hazard.

The data also reveals that in urban areas, 13% of menstrual waste is thrown in open spaces such as rivers, wells, lakes and by the roadside, while 10% waste is disposed of in toilets, 9% is burnt and 8% is buried.

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