Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on Sunday announced that January 2021 onwards, sanitary pad manufacturers will have to mandatorily provide packets for disposal of each pad. He said the move was necessary as although usage of sanitary pads has increased, their disposal was being done in a manner that might have adverse impact on the health of those involved in waste-picking.
Javadekar celebrated the International Women’s Day by interacting with women waste-pickers of SWaCH Pune, a workers’ union involved in collection of waste in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Javadekar said waste-pickers should be addressed as ‘Swachhta Sevika’.
“We have observed that production and usage of sanitary napkins and diapers has increased in the country. However, they are still being discarded in a way that is harmful to waste-pickers. We will implement the rule that January 2021 onwards all sanitary pad manufacturers will have to provide degradable bags for disposal of each sanitary napkin. This rule is already in existence but is not being followed by the manufacturers,” said Javadekar.
He emphasised on a change in societal attitude for improvement in cleanliness scenario in cities. “We all city dwellers want garbage shed for us, but not too close from our home. This mindset should change. I have decided to give funds from Member of Parliament Local Area Development Fund for construction of 50 big and 50 small garbage sheds that are designed by SwaCH,” said Javadekar.
He said a decentralised model of garbage disposal under which educational institutes and housing societies should be disposed at the premises itself is a more sustainable and long-term solution for the issue.
“There is rule for compulsory picking of garbage and disposal for municipal towns. This rule will be made compulsory for all habitations with more than 3,000 population. With steps like these the dream of Swachh Bharat of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be realised,” he added.
SWaCH Founder Laxmi Narayan said decentralised disposal of garbage will have a multitude of benefits. “Garbage should be disposed off in decentralised way. The money spent on transport of garbage should be utilised in encouraging people to make garbage into compost at the source. It will be great help if the plant buying plastic waste is located in Pune, which shall create value and provide incentive for waste pickers and segregation.”
Rani Shivsaran, representing 3,500 Swachhata sevikas from the SWaCH group, said a permanent separate shed for sorting of garbage at each ward will help greatly in this work. She said initiatives like V-Collect (V for Victory) help in collecting items from homes that are lying unused and prove additional source of income for these Sevikas.
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