IN A bid to curb the daily problems of choked up drains in community toilets, the government has provided two brand new incinerators to process used sanitary napkins in the slums of Mankhurd and Bhandup. The two incinerators can burn about 20 sanitary napkins or diapers in half an hour.
Meanwhile, the Slum Sanitation Programme of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to issue tenders for 100 such incinerators across Mumbai for various slum pockets.
According to a field survey by the civic body’s Solid Waste Management (SWM) department, about six per cent of the waste generated in the city comprise used pads and diapers. In Mumbai, of the 8,500 metric tonne waste generated every day 510 metric tonne waste consist of sanitary napkins.
“We have observed an increased used of sanitary napkins instead of cloth by women in slums. But since disposal mechanism is poor, they often throw it in toilet seats and pour water over it,” a civic official said, adding that most drains in community toilets were choked because of this practice.
Last year, the BMC tabled the idea of installing incinerators in community toilets for women to use. The incinerator, a mail-box sized wall-mounted device, is currently being handled by Chinchli Maiyaka Mahila Mandal in Mankhurd, where there are ten toilet cubicles for slum women and by Kumbh Gagangiri Mahila Sanstha in Bhandup, which has 26 cubicles.
On May 13, soon after the device was installed, toilet caretakers were given training on handling it. The equipment produces 450 degree Celsius heat to burn the plastic-made-napkins. The residue is small amount of ash. “We will now train women living in this area on how to operate the incinerator on their own,” said Surekha Chandrakant, who looks after the Mankhurd community toilet.
About 36 Mahila mandals will be trained on menstrual health and hygiene and on operations of incinerators in Mumbai to cover about 450 slum women. A vending machine to dispense sanitary napkins will also be installed at community toilets in city slums.