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Marine Heatwaves And Cyclones Are Destroying Coral Reefs

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Severe tropical storms frequently occur between 10 to 30 degrees latitude north and south, known as hurricanes in North America, tropical cyclones (TC) in the southern hemisphere, and typhoons in the northwest Pacific. They cause significant disturbances in marine ecosystems including coral reefs (Harmelin-Vivien 1994, Done 1992; Gardner et al. 2005). The aquatic ecosystem is the most affected, and they cause flattening of the reef structures.

However, unlike rocks, corals are alive. Corals are, in fact, animals. The branch or mound that we often call “a coral” is actually made up of thousands of tiny animals called polyps. A coral polyp is an invertebrate that can be no bigger than a pinhead to up to a foot in diameter. The skeletons of marine invertebrates that comprise calcium carbonate are involved in reef building. According to Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL), the important coral reefs seen today are expected to be 5,000 to 10,000 years old.

The major threats for the corals are two kinds: natural like temperature, sediment deposition, pH, salinity, etc.; and anthropogenic like mining, bottom fishing, pollution, etc. Tropical cyclones cause huge damage to both inshore and offshore coral reefs. The parameters to measure the disturbances are the erosion of the top layer of reefs, the clearance of massive corals, breakage of corals, disfiguration, disturbance of algal blooms, shifting of sedimentation.

A depression with low pressure acquires strength from warm tropical oceans and forms a storm called a tropical cyclone. Tropical cyclones can cause extensive damage to individual corals and to the structure of the reef, and can affect large areas. Cyclonic winds can also cause substantial changes in the shape of islands and coastlines, affect ocean currents and increase inshore ocean turbidity through suspension of sediments. Large storm waves may result in significant coral reef damage.

The mortality of the corals is the biggest challenge when they survive Coral bleaching.
Coral bleaching: The mortality of the corals is the biggest challenge when they survive Coral bleaching.

However, a hurricane will also cool surface waters and can often mitigate coral bleaching. Hurricanes help to regulate the earth’s temperature, extracting heat from the ocean and redistributing it into the atmosphere, thereby moving tropical heat polewards. The effects of tropical cyclones also include coral bleaching and diseases.

Coral bleaching is a coral disease caused by the symbiotic algae, the zooxanthellae. They are responsible for a healthy stony coral, and the coral’s death occur when the polyps of algae cells are expelled, which turns the coral into white stark-like structures. This explains the importance of reef-building corals that require clear, nutrient-less water, yet they are the most productive and diverse marine ecosystems.

The damage is extensive to inshore reefs than offshore. These cyclones ruin the ecosystem, infrastructure and coastal communities. Here, the coral reef productivity and species diversity are more affected despite being resilient to these cyclones. If we go through the timeline of tropical cyclones, for instance, Yasi in Queensland, Australia that occured in February, 2011, with a damaging wind speed of 285km/s and hit the coral gardens extensively. The fragile corals were more affected by the sediment and pesticides, which were swept away before the cyclone.

Similarly, cyclone Roanu destroyed Bangladesh and India’s east coast causing blanching corals in high intensity. In the past 15 years, cyclones like Sidr, Aila, Phailin, Hudhud, Bulbul and Fani drew devastating costs. The Ganga-Brahmaputra delta and Sunderbans have been the focus of most of the above cyclones. The recent powerful cyclone Amphan in the Bay of Bengal surpassed the Odisha cyclone of 2009.

Generally, warm waters develop cyclones. The marine heatwave intensified rapidly into a super cyclone from category 1 to category 5 with 250km/h winds. In recent years, we see that cyclones are forming quite quickly: Amphan intensified from a category 1 to a category 5 cyclone within 18 hours.

Our research shows that high ocean temperatures most likely result in such rapid intensification of cyclones in the North Indian Ocean. The buoys recorded the temperatures in the range of 30°C–33°C that are the high values until now in the basins of Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. The forecast models of the intensification of the rapid cyclone, which is temperature-driven climate change effect, is still a challenge that needs to be addressed. Last year’s cyclone Fani, which struck Odisha in early May, had shown somewhat similar intensification, but Amphan had no peer in how rapidly it intensified.

Damage caused to corals years after the cyclone in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.
Damage caused to corals years after the cyclone in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia has stunted the growth and health of  them.

The efficiency of the communication between government departments in forecasting climate change-based natural calamities is necessary. However, the India Meteorological Department gave a skillfully accurate forecast of the track and intensity, but the damage to the coral reefs is still unavoidable.

While increasing heat, stress is considered a pervasive risk to coral reefs. Quantitative estimates of threats from cyclone intensification are lacking due to limited data on cyclone impact to inform projections. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, marine heatwaves are a result of climate change that also led to massive bleaching of coral reefs in the Gulf of Mannar through April and May.

The global ocean has absorbed 90% of the excess heat generated by greenhouse gas emissions since 1970. The greenhouse gases that cause more heat are absorbed by the ocean causing the rapid, devastating intensification of tropical cyclones, and the destructive bleaching of coral reefs is the result. Hence, climate change is one leading threat to coral survival.

In order to save coral reefs, we as humans could conserve water, reduce pollution, use organic fertilizers, be responsible in disposing trash, reef-friendly livelihood. Is it too tough for mankind to be responsible and resilient at the same time?

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    World Climate & Pollution Problems

    1. Many Production Companies Has To Be Stopped

    We manufacture so many products and it is creating pollution and pollution has increased to such an extent that it has become a threat to the world. So if we can minimise our products, pollution would be less.
    We produce so many things which we do not need as a necessity, like cold drinks, leather products, potato wafers, chips, fruit juices, chocolates, biscuits, pickles, ice creams, etc. Cold drinks, fruit juices, chocolates, biscuits, pickles, ice creams, etc. should be cooked at home only. Instead of cold drinks people should drink natural drinks such as lime water, coconut water or just any fruit, not any fruit juice, just the whole fruit which can be prepared or served when a customer comes in a shop, hotel or a person selling this drinks on a street and serve it to him. If we stopped producing this things so much pollution could be reduced. Also these companies need so much water and electricity, we could give that water and electricity to places where water and electricity supply is less. As the world is facing pollution problems, we should stop producing things which is not a necessity for humans. In this way we would create less pollution.
    If we colour the clothes pollution occurs. So if we don’t colour our clothes, the pollution resulting from colouring the clothes can be stopped. Let everything remain in white natural colour.
    What about the companies that are going to be stopped, they would have debts to pay. The companies which cannot pay the debts just excuse them. We will think that if companies are going to be shut down then how the Industrialists and so many people who would lose their jobs, how will they survive. Well companies and people’s on one side and the earth on one side, which should we save, the earth is more important.

    2. We Should Cook Foods In Its Natural Form

    We can cook rice and wheat in our homes and eat it. Rice and Wheat is produced in farms. Then it is packed and transported to big warehouses, then wholesalers buy from them and supply to retail shops.
    But if a manufacturing company makes bread from rice and wheat, then to make bread a manufacturing company has to be set up, machines and working staffs are needed. When a company is built many other things are also needed. Then at last a plastic pack is required to pack the breads.
    So if we start cooking eatable things in its natural form then we do not need many companies like bread manufacturing company, tomato ketchup, fruit jam, pizza, burger, etc., the things required for the company and the plastic pack, paper box pack and glass bottles. If done like this, so many companies will not be required and hence less pollution for the world.
    This must be done. The World is researching on how to clear the earth’s pollution, but if we stopped many companies like bread manufacturing company and others which are not required as a necessity, so much pollution could be reduced and maybe we won’t even have to research on how to clear the earth’s pollution.

    3. Pickles should not be stored

    Most of the people buy pickles to eat, while some make it at home. If pickles are bought from a store then a company has also to make glass bottles to store the pickles. If made at home then still glass bottles are required to store the pickles.
    But if we make pickles at home and only cook how much is needed for one time then we won’t need glass bottles to store the pickles. Glass bottles when manufactured it creates water pollution.

    4. We Should Stop Using Makeup Products

    Many women’s all over the world do makeup. Makeup is not a necessity for humans. Instead of doing makeup to look beautiful, women’s should do exercise daily. If they exercise and sweat, eat fruits daily, they would have less dead skins and be naturally beautiful. They could save so much money if they stop using makeup products. If this is done then all the makeup manufacturing companies can be shut down. In this way all the pollution resulting from the makeup manufacturing companies would also be stopped.

    5. How To Reduce Transportation In The World

    If one country invents a thing and then exports it to other countries in the world, much transportation is needed. Instead of that the invented thing should be taught to every countries in the world. If done like this transportation would
    be less needed. Only raw materials should be imported and exported
    from one country to another. Countries should not import and export eatable things if it can be produced in their own countries. If one country has excess agricultural food grains, fruits, then only that country should export that things to other countries. If this is done, so much pollution can be reduced because of less transportation.
    If one country has invented a thing and they would think that if they taught other countries the method to invent that thing, then they would lose profits, but that will not be the case as other countries when they will invent a thing, they will also teach the method to invent that thing to all other countries in the world.
    If pollution problem was not present then no problem, one country after inventing a thing could transport it to all other countries in the world, but now as pollution problem is present, then this should not be done.

    6. Electricity Pollution

    We create electricity from many types of sources like coal, water, etc., but it creates pollution. If electricity created from windmill and solar energy then no pollution occurs. But still to manufacture windmill and solar machines pollution would occur.
    As I previously said that if we shut down many manufacturing companies which are producing things which are not a necessity for humans, then the world would not require so much electricity. Then maybe we could provide electricity to the whole world from windmill and Solar panels which are not pollutant. If we stopped producing electricity from coal, water, etc., then the pollution resulting from them won’t occur. Shouldn’t we take this step to protect our earth as already our earth is suffering so much from global warming and climate change. Is their any other choice, I don’t think so.
    At present the world is researching how to solve the pollution problem, it would take how many years I don’t know and also would it possible or impossible, God knows. Could we wait till that time when scientists would find how to solve pollution problems and till that the earth won’t have a major natural disaster, nobody knows. We must shut down many companies which are not required as a necessity for humans.

    7. Free Things To The Peoples

    As I previously said to shut down many companies which are not required as a necessity for humans, if done then many would become jobless and lose their business.
    So to solve this problem the world has to make food, clothing, shelter, medicine, surgeries and education free to the peoples. If this step is taken then we can shut down any company we want. The government’s of every country should arrange agricultural lands in new places for farming and supply water and seeds and all other things necessary for farming free to the people’s who have lost their source of income, if they do not have enough money to start farming on their own. If this is done then no one would starve for food and robberies can be reduced so much in the world.
    Many people’s should do agriculture and farming. Many people should study botany subject so that they have knowledge of plants and they should do farming.
    A book must be written about how much amount of food of any type a person should consume, to cook foods half or full, because if we eat too much of a thing then some problems arises due to that. The lands of the companies can be turned back to forests, trees can be planted or turned into a farm.

    8. Firecrackers should be banned

    Firecrackers should be banned because it is harmful for animals. Animals have different levels of hearing and when we burst crackers which have a loud noise the dogs run away from that place. The dogs may hear the noise more louder than humans. When we fire the rocket cracker up in the sky and it bursts and if any bird is near to the explosion then that birds internal organs are damaged and they die just because of that explosion sound. Also peoples who have asthma illness, they face problems during Diwali. So much papers and threads are used in manufacturing crackers. The persons working in the manufacturing companies also suffer.
    Now when their are animals rights for not harming them, then this step of banning firecrackers must be taken.

    9. Hair cutting salons are not required

    Instead of cutting our hair and shaving our beard in a salon, if everybody learns how to cut hair, then in a family everybody can cut each other’s hair. If this is done then no need of hair cutting salons. All those hair cutting places can be used for other purposes.
    We require scissors, blades, razors, shaving brush and shaving creams for hair cut and beard shaving. What if we use a hair removing soap for our hair cut and shaving purposes. Their is a soap for hair removal and it is also cheap. For women’s who need hair cut for them scissors has to be used to cut the hair, no choice for that, but for men’s hair cut and beard shaving if hair removing soap is used, he would become bald, but if we do this then we won’t need to manufacture blades, razors, shaving brush and creams. All those manufacturing companies can be shut down and hence less pollution for the world.
    People use hair dye to colour their hairs. The hair dye manufacturing companies after production dumps its waste in rivers or seas which pollutes the water. So all hair dye manufacturing companies should be shut down. For the sake of our planet earth this step must be taken.

    10. We Can Stop Eating Sweets, Cakes And Stop Drinking Liquor, Wine And Beer

    We consume sweets and cakes. We make it from many things such as wheat, coconut, etc. and add sugar to it. But what we want is the sweet thing to consume which we are getting directly from fruits. The fruit is naturally sweet. So if we want to consume sweets and cakes, we do not have to prepare it, just we have to eat fruits. So all the sweet manufacturing companies can be shut down. If you shut down a sweet manufacturing company, then so many paper boxes need not be manufactured which are used to pack the sweets.
    Liquor, wine and beer are also made from fruits. So if you want to consume liquor, wine and beer, just eat fruits. If this is followed, then you do not have to set up liquor factories and prepare cartoon boxes for liquors. Send everybody to the rehabilitation centres those who can’t live without liquor.

    11. To Stop Using Perfumes And Powders Which Is Not A Necessity

    Women’s could simply keep a flower in their hair instead of using perfumes and powders. For men, it can’t be helped. For bad smell in body both men and women should exercise and sweat, it would reduce the bad smell.
    If you stop using perfumes and powders, we don’t need perfume and powder manufacturing companies. So many perfume and powder bottles need not be manufactured, cartoon boxes need not be manufactured for packing them and transportations can be reduced. All of this would result in less pollution.

    12. Could We Stop Drinking Cow’s and Buffalo’s Milk

    Whatever vitamins and nutrients we get from milk, if we can get it from other eatable things, then we can stop drinking cow’s and buffalo’s milk. As milk has to be packed in glass bottles and plastic packs and then transported to places. All of this can be stopped.
    For infants whose mother’s have died or mother’s who cannot breast feed their infants, only for them cow’s and buffalo’s milk should be given. We use milk in tea and coffee. Instead of milk we must use lime with tea and coffee. A lime should be cut into a few pieces and cooked with tea and coffee or something else can be used instead of lime.

    13. A Manufacturing Company Which Is Not A Necessity For Human Beings, If It Is Stopped, Then We Have The Following Benefits

    When a manufacturing company which is not a necessity for human beings, if it is stopped, then we have the following benefits.
    That company which is built in a place, that much land is saved, machines does not have to be manufactured, for machines to operate oil is needed and many other things, for which we have to make oil manufacturing company and all other companies for all other things like cartoon boxes, plastic ropes and plastic cans, registers, pencil, pen, stationery products. To make cartoon boxes papers are required and to stick papers gums are required. To make gums so much dough is needed and caustic soda is needed. If we don’t manufacture cartoon boxes then that dough can be eaten. Transportation is needed to deliver things to all the shops. Roads have to be constructed. For transportation we need vehicles and to operate vehicles petrol is needed, to get petrol we have to set up oil rig platforms in the sea or land and to deliver petrol to a petrol pump that petrol is needed to be put in a drum, a plastic drum has to be manufactured and then many ships have to be manufactured for shipping the petrol to all the places. For all this works so much land is lost and so much pollution is created, from that pollution humans, land animals, sea animals, aerial animals and earth is suffering. Also many transportation items which requires huge trucks for transportation a driver has to drive only at night and his day life is lost. Surely at night time driving the driver would become sleepy sometimes and accidents do happen.
    All of this can be reduced and this will be our benefits if we stopped a manufacturing company which is not a necessity for human beings. When you stop making a manufacturing company then all the problems related with it won’t occur.

    Due to coronavirus pandemic it would be better if we don’t open the companies which are not required as a necessity for humans. It would be help in preventing from the coronavirus pandemic.

    14. Why We Should Manufacture Less Nutrient Foods Like Horlicks And Bournvita

    Bournvita, Horlicks should be given to only persons who cannot exercise and are too weak. For others who have deficiency and are not too weak, they should eat natural foods and exercise so that the foods would get absorbed well in their body and their deficiency would be alright. If still they cannot exercise and get tired easily, they could do some light exercises or yoga in their spare time which would take long to get tired. If this is done, we won’t have to prepare so many horlicks, bournvita and other nutrients foods like that. So then we don’t have to prepare the plastic, glass or paper pack bottles and hence less pollution.

    15. To Reduce Television Time

    Television programs is for 24 hours a day. A human works for 8 hours a day, 1 hour for getting ready in the morning, travelling time assume for 2 hours a day, half an hour would be spent in relaxing, talking to friend’s for half an hour, talking with family for half an hour, 1 hour spent in a park and sleeping time for 6 hours. Altogether 19 and half hours are spent for weekdays. So only 4 and half hours are left. In that why television is then for 24 hours. Well non working women’s and students going to schools and colleges have extra free time. As television is for 24 hours now, then many students instead of spending their time in studying watch television more and study less. Non working women’s in their free time instead of watching television could do some other activities. Television should be shown in evening from 7pm to 8pm, cartoon shows should be shown for kids at that time. From 8pm to 9pm teenagers programs should be shown. From 9pm to 11pm programs should be shown for grown-up peoples. If you watch colour television for more than 2 hours, the rays coming from television affects your health and eyes.

    At present due to problems going on in the world, 24 hours news channels are required. So we can keep news channels for 24 hours. Sports channels can also be shown for 24 hours.

    On Sundays television can be shown for 9 to 11am in the morning and 2 to 5pm in the afternoon and 7 to 11pm in the evening.

    Also in a year so many movies are made. In a year there are 52 weeks, so only 52 movies should be produced in one country. One Sunday one movie should be watched. Their should be no production of video or CD cassettes of the picture, only uploaded in the internet, so that if anyone wants to watch any movie again, they can download and watch it again.

    Also if their are only 52 movies in a week, there would be less downloading of movies in the whole world due to which there would be less amount of internet radiation.

    16. How Much Should Be The World’s Population

    How much population should the world have, that our earth can handle the pollution created by our work in which no harm comes to any living beings and the earth, it should be researched and that population has to be maintained.

    For example if our earth can handle pollution of 1 billion people, then the world should have only 1 billion people only. We would have to have one child only from now on till the population reaches 1 billion. As if everybody had only one child, population will decrease. After that everyone can have 2 children’s. When 2 children’s are born, then population will increase. When the population reaches 1.5 billion, then everyone should have only one child till the population reaches back to 1 billion. After that everyone can have 2 children’s. In this way population can be maintained.

    But if the world doesn’t want to keep the population limited, then this would lead to disasters. The world should not want that to happen.

    In countries like india and china population is too much. In china people’s are having 1 child only. In india the government has said to people to have 1 child only, but it is not followed. India has to agree to have one child only. Even if india agreed, still it would take a long time to reduce population for both countries.
    To reduce population fast, this method should be used.
    Couples would be 1st born, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and so on. In this when a person is marrying another person, and they are 1st and 2nd born and also their father, mother and grandparents are 1st and 2nd born, then they can have 2 children’s.
    If the persons marrying each other are 1st and 2nd born, but the man’s father or mother or grandfather or grandmother is 3rd born, 4th and so on, and the woman’s father, mother and grandparents are 1st or 2nd born, then they can have 1 children. Also if the man is 3rd born, 4th and so on and his wife is 1st or 2nd born and wife’s mother, father and grandparents are also 1st and 2nd born, then they can 1 children.
    If the man is 3rd born or 4th and so on and also his wife is 3rd born or 4th and so on, then they should not have any children’s.
    If a man and woman are 1st or 2nd born, but both their father’s, mother’s or grandparents are 3rd born or 4th and so on, then they should not have any children’s. In this way population can be reduced fast.

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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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’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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