Disposing off used sanitary napkins is one of the key challenges faced by women in rural India. Mr. Shyamsunder Bedekar from Gujarat addressed this problem with his innovation named ‘Ashudinashak’ which translates to ‘impurity destroyer’. This device is a low cost incinerator that burns used sanitary napkins and makes it easier for women to dispose of them.
Shyam’s wife Swati Bedekar (a science educator) noticed that school girls’ dropped out or took long leaves during their menstrual cycle. She found that girls still used old and hazardous means to cover themselves. This motivated her to start her non-profit organisation named Vatsalya Foundation, which focusses on educating women about the menstrual hygiene. Shyam’s unique idea combat the issues raised by Swati. This device has already been installed in 2000 machines across several states in India. There is a high demand for the product as it burns the used napkins completely and avoids infections and bacterial diseases.
As reported by The Kachra Project, women dispose, on average, 150 kg of non-biodegradable waste. Moreover, 90% of sanitary napkins are plastic, therefore not eco-friendly and can remain in landfills for over 800 years. By using incinerators, the napkins will be completely burnt, leaving behind only ash. The ash can then be used as a fertiliser for plants. There are several other brands now that are producing incinerators for commercial purposes.