As a part of its recent CSR initiative, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) proceeded with the need to provide sanitary healthcare. The idea of setting up sanitary napkin vending machines and disposal machines, was an attempt by the corporation to spread menstrual hygiene awareness via eco-friendly and affordable sanitary napkins.
In a proposal, Municipal Commissioner, Saurabh Rao, said that the civic body collects at least 2,200 tonnes of garbage every day, including 125 tonnes of sanitary waste. There are 12 sanitary disposal machines set up in the city that dispose as many as 6,000 sanitary napkins every day. “The collection and transportation of sanitary waste, along with repair and maintenance of sanitary disposal machines, is increasing the financial burden on the civic body,” he said.
Attempts to achieve and ODF++ rating (open defecation-free) in the Swachh Survekshan 2020, the PMC is installing sanitary vending machines and use a strong mechanism to dump the used sanitary napkins. The systems are established in civic buildings, secondary and higher secondary schools, community halls and toilets through CSR, and in private schools, colleges, malls, and cooperative societies through paid services.
An active non-governmental organization known as the action committee against unfair medical practice, has announced its preparedness to dispose the sanitary waste through a centralized system by collecting and destroying the napkins in incinerators, following the similar lines of how biomedical waste is disposed.
The committee is also considering an alternative to dispose the sanitary waste through a decentralized system by installing a napkin destroyer system in Pune. The decentralized system will set up the Smart Maitrin vending machines, and an efficient napkin destroyer system that will have the capacity to hold 500 gram of ashes.
Also further strengthening the supply of branded sanitary napkins through vending machines at a price lower than the retail price, is the free maintenance of machines for one year and paid maintenance for four years.
This will not only help women during their menstrual time but also create awareness around the use of sanitary napkins and disposal through an environment-friendly system. If need be, the existing sanitary napkin disposal machines in the city will be handed over to the NGO to operate with no extra cost to the civic body, officials said.