Preethi Ramadoss is being called "Padwoman" for her innovative plastic-free biodegradable sanitary napkin. The PhD scholar at Anna University in Chennai has developed an eco-friendly napkin that she claims completely degrades in a month. This is part of her doctoral research.
A nature lover, Ms Ramadoss says that besides plastic, napkins available in the market use a lot of wood pulp. "Every woman is technically uprooting at least two trees in her menstrual phase of life. I want to stop this. That's why I made this my PhD topic," she says.
Although there is no estimate, a bulk of modern day sanitary napkins is disposed of in landfills. The plastic elements and the other non-biodegradable parts pose a huge environmental challenge.
Her napkins, Ms Ramadoss says, would make use of "cellulose derivatives". "We use raw material derived from plants, the naturally occurring polysaccharides and polymers," she adds.
The authorities say Anna University's Crystal Growth Centre has tested the product on various parameters, including its liquid retention capacity and have found it to be efficient and eco-friendly.
"We had funding from the Department of Science and Technology initially. Now we are looking for investment that would help this project take wings," professor Dr S Arivuoli told NDTV.
Although the prototype, which is slightly larger, is ready, the team says the final shape of the product would be compact and attractive.
"Preethi was so clear about her research project from day one. For many, we suggest topics. But she stood her ground and has resolved it. It's paying dividends now," says Dr Arivuoli.
While the cost of these pads is not clear yet the team believes it would be much cheaper than the expensive nature-friendly sanitary napkins in the market.
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