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Man Has His Own Ways, And One Of Them Is Wasting Paper!

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By S. Nivedya:

Paddu was a smart girl. She was a keen listener, a sincere worker and scored well in her academics. Once the entire class was asked to do an assignment. Paddu picked up neat full scape papers from her stock, wrote her homework and submitted it. A week later, the papers were returned by the teacher who called out each one’s mistakes before handing it back to them. Paddu was expecting a good remark when the teacher went close to her and said-“Next time, I expect you to submit your work written on A4 sheets”.

Pause! Rewind and Replay!

Do you see something wrong here? The teacher seems more concerned about the paper quality than the content.

In the rush for perfection, we sometimes don’t see what we are putting at stake here. Walk into any big institution, company or school and you can see tons of paper going to waste, be it for unsigned assignments tossed into the trash, or the huge margin they demand be drawn on the side of each page to make your work look ‘neat’. What they don’t see along their way to creating the leaders of the nation is that they are reducing the chances of those young leaders to live in a green planet. Drawing a margin occupies one-fifth of a page. So by the time you finish your five page, A+ deserving assignment, you have already put an entire page to waste.

Everyday we see people going over the top to publicize a ‘green’ step to making things better. Pamphlets are distributed, signboards are made, posters are stuck. In the process, hundreds of sheets of paper are going to waste to spread one message-save the earth. Books are printed on how the earth is plundered and environmental subjects are being made compulsory in school curriculum. Is it having an impact? Do we do what we can? The smarter people get, trying to be integrated into the larger system, onto becoming the world leaders or top researchers ignore important things as little as organising their garbage or turning off the tap when not in use.

Countries of the world pride themselves in the number of subways they built or how high their skyscrapers can go into making a new world record. But as I read through these news articles all I can think of is, what are we doing to Mother Earth? Is it worth doing so much if we are making our own home dangerous for us to live in, progress at the cost of our own annihilation?

I live in a very clean neighbourhood. Everyday a lady comes to pick up the garbage that we dispose. It is very important for us to organise our waste into compost and recyclable. If we don’t do so, we will be fined. The system seemed strict at first but later we learnt that it was a good initiative by the government. A few weeks later, the lady stopped coming all the way to our houses, she asked us to leave it at the gate.

Knowing for certain that she will check what we have disposed, people started to slack, putting bottles with kitchen refuse. Any food left outside the gates would be devoured by the stray dogs on the streets. What welcomes our eyes will be scattered waste before our own houses.

A couple of weeks later, the lady stopped coming all together. Now what do we do with the waste? Simple, a man thought. He crossed the road and put his bag of waste before his neigbour’s house. Who would know? What started out as a system was ruined because one person failed to do her duty properly. Multiply this one deed into the huge population of the world. It is every person who fails to see the bigger picture that contributes to the current environmental problem that we face and complain about everyday.

In a very interesting article about past life regression, a psychiatrist wrote what his patient spoke in her sub-conscious state, possibly channeling the master souls of the universe-the earth will remain, plants and trees will remain, but humans will be gone. What we received is an insight into our futures. The least we can do is delay what is about to befall humankind.

Paddu threw away the papers she had collected for reuse over the days and headed to the store to get herself some fresh A4 sheets.

Man looted and plundered the earth. He sent smoke from factories into the atmosphere, he chopped down trees with his enormous electric chainsaw in minutes, he killed elephants for their ivory tusks and killed other men for land. Man is selfish. In stories, nature forgives, reverses time and restores ‘gaia’ to her normal self, giving man a second chance. Sadly, in reality, there are no second chances.

You must be to comment.
  1. Pooja Negi

    Another awesome article.
    Actually I myself didn’t realize this before reading this article but now i’m more aware about it than anything else.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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