In India, most homes are super clean. Every day there is sweeping and mopping, and I know a few homes where mopping is done more than once to keep it squeaky clean. Shoes are often kept outside the main door to ensure cleanliness. The same homes, however, do not take that interest in ensuring that the waste generated in their homes is stored in a clean manner, is segregated according to its material, or carried out to dispose in the disposal mechanism available in their village, town or city.
In Bangalore, where I live, the municipal corporation, or Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), arranges a door-to-door waste pick-up from homes. In case of big apartments, bins are installed in the basement where residents dispose their waste and the civic worker collects it on a daily basis. That way, dwellers of Bengaluru are rather fortunate in contrast to my parents living in Imphal, Manipur, who have not had any agency pick up waste from their homes in the past two years.
But even with such high-end service available to us in Bangalore, people do not make the effort of segregating waste at home, or throwing their garbage correctly in the designated bins in their society building/apartments. Once, I saw a lady, whose balcony is adjacent to mine, sweep her entire house and throw the dust and dirt collected by her outside from her balcony from the fourth floor!
I took long to recover from that shock. Additionally, the site of the bins in the society is anything but pretty, because we do not care. Every time I go to dispose my house waste, I feel like puking on seeing, smelling or touching the bins and the mixed garbage, because people do not care to segregate them. The landfill in New Delhi fooled me into believing that it was a mountain range.
Waste management has always been a tough challenge even for the government and civic authorities. Although a lot has been achieved in terms of policy and new technology being installed and used for collection, recycling and processing of waste, there is one area that is seriously lagging behind, and that is people’s involvement and commitment to waste management at their homes. The management of menstrual waste is even tougher for the municipality and civic workers.
No amount of investing money and human resource in waste management by the authorities, NGOs and partners can give us clean neighborhoods and safe environment till each unit, i.e. the household, takes up responsibility and does their part with disposing their garbage once equipped with accurate information and motivation to make a contribution.
Breaking the Silence Worldwide Foundation, a non-profit, has organised the Khud Karo (Do it yourself) National Competition on Management of Menstrual Waste between 1st August-1st November, 2020, and is conducting a campaign to raise awareness on the basics of the correct way to handle, store and dispose household waste, especially soiled sanitary pads, because every little change begins with information.
The campaign aims to mobilise people to manage soiled sanitary pads ‘correctly and on their own’ at home before it is disposed outside.
Please watch our video on menstrual waste management, participate by sending us your video of segregating menstrual waste to firstname.lastname@example.org, win attractive prizes, and be the change you want to see. Ten winners will be announced on 15th November, 2020, via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages of the organisation and receive attractive prizes and certificates from Breaking the Silence Worldwide Foundation.
All genders are invited to participate because even though not all genders menstruate, they can educate their family members.