Mumbai: A law student, along with a practicing lawyer and a social activist, all women, have filed a petition in the National Green Tribunal (NGT), demanding that manufacturers of sanitary napkins and diapers provide a pouch or wrapper for disposal of each napkin or diapers along with the packet of their sanitary products. According to the petitioners, failing to do so amounts to breach of law, which is resulting in serious environmental issues with respect to waste management. The NGT on Wednesday issued notices against the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), director of health department, Government of Maharashtra and Nagpur Municipal Corporation etc and deferred the matter for hearing on December 19.
According to the petition Purva Bora, a law student at Shankarrao Chavan Law College, Pune came across Solid Waste Management Rules and came to know there are duties of waste generators and manufacturers towards solid waste management.
However, in most of the cases rules are not followed, the petition said.
Bora then along with Supriya Jan-Sonar, a social activist and one of the lead campaigners for the Right to Pee campaign and practicing advocate Smita Sarode-Singalkar filed the petition in NGT West Zone seeking a direction for MoEFCC, MPCB, health department and various municipal corporations and to ensure implementation of provisions of Solid Waste Management Rules 2016. The petition filed through advocate Asim Sarvoday has also sought directions for manufacturers of sanitary napkins and diapers to provide a pouch or wrapper for disposal of each napkin or diapers along with the packet of their sanitary products.
The petitioners have also sought that ‘Sanitary Napkins Destroying Vending Machines’ should be installed across the country especially in education premises, girls’ hostels and various industries where females are working, in accordance with the population.
According to the petitioners periods are unimaginable without disposable sanitary napkins for women today. Around 40,000 crore sanitary waste in the form of used napkins create huge garbage each year in India. According to them many times non-compostable sanitary pads are making their way into sewerage system, landfills, fields and water bodies in India every month posing huge environmental and health risks.
The petitioner further said, “When absorbent hygiene product waste is thrown away as unsegregated trash either in the open or into trash cans, waste pickers, who do not have protective gear, have to handle them with their bare hands. Handling this waste with their bare hands is particularly degrading and against the legal right to dignity of labour.”
The NGT bench comprising Justice Umesh Salvi and Dr Nagin Nanda issued notice to respondents asking them to file their reply by December 19.