A. Aparna, a 9th standard student from AP Model School, Nellimarla, Andhra Pradesh makes a low-cost Biodegradable Sanitary Napkin using Banana Fibre.
“It started with an aim to make sanitary napkin affordable for myself and my hostel mates,” Aparna says. She got this idea of making biodegradable sanitary napkin using banana fibre after attending the guest lecture on Health and Hygiene for Women, which was organized by IL&FS Skills trainer V. Venkata Lakshmi. She was horrified to note that the synthetic material in an ordinary pad takes almost 50-60 years to decompose.
A. Aparna is undergoing a vocational course of General Duty Assistant (GDA) in the Healthcare Sector that is provided by IL&FS Skills as part of Skills at School Programme.A great deal of deliberation and googling ensued. After an extensive research, she narrowed down her options on making sanitary pads using banana fibre which easily decomposes within six months. It is also the readiest raw material available in her campus and this very layer was the perfect material for the project.
“We have used the pulp of banana tree instead of polymer to hold the pad, which comprises of two layers of thin banana fibre layer and cotton. The trunk of the banana tree is smeared with a lot of ash. After the boiling process is completed, we cleanse the resulting pulp to get rid of the ash and cut the dried pulp into two layers of thin sheets. Later we stitched the two layers together by putting a thick cotton layer between the two. Banana fibre by itself is more absorbent than any chemicals we use, thereby providing greater comfort,” Aparna says alongside with the support of her guide V. Jahnavi.
This process would also cost much less than what is available in the current market. However, a lot of awareness is yet to be generated. More importantly, the procurement of banana fibre would also create a new market for farmers, who otherwise burn banana trunks after reaping the harvest. Aparna along with her guide are also looking at the commercial viability of the project.