Disposable pads, disposable lives: Health and life of “conservancy workers”, coming from lowest Dalit sub-caste, is at risk
April 18, 2014 Leave a comment
Worldwide disposable sanitary napkins flushed down toilets cause huge problems as they clog up sewers. Most sewerage systems, being designed before the advent of disposable napkins, are meant to carry only water and excreta. Besides the huge costs in maintenance of sewerage systems worldwide, in India the problem is exacerbated by the fact that, in contravention to existing laws, conservancy workers, with no protection whatsoever, have to go down the manholes to manually clean the blockages. Ecofemme, a manufacturer of reusable sanitary pads in Auroville, recently met with conservancy workers in Chennai and learnt about the devastating social impact of disposable pads.
“When you throw something away, where is away?” asks the celebrated environmental activist, Julia Butterfly Hill.(1) Indeed, where is away? “Away” conjures that mythical place, far from one’s home, where one is absolved from dealing with the ignominious impact of one’s action.