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Inexpensive option:Students take a look at the ‘green’ napkins in Bengaluru on Tuesday.V. Sreenivasa Murthy  

The Union government launched biodegradable sanitary napkins to mark World Environment Day on Tuesday.

At a press conference here, Union Chemicals and Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar called it an important step in ensuring menstrual health among women.

The ecofriendly sanitary napkin, priced at Rs. 10 for a pack of four, has an additive that makes it biodegradable when it comes in contact with oxygen after being discarded.

These pads will be available in 103 generic medicine stores across the country on a pilot basis.

Of these, five are in Karnataka, with four in Bengaluru.

In phases

In the first phase after the pilot, the napkins will be made available in all 3,603 generic medicine stores across the country.

“In the second phase, we will meet the Chief Ministers and Health Ministers of all States and sign a memorandum of understanding. Following this, we will ensure that the pads are available in all primary health centres and government hospitals in the respective States,” Mr. Kumar said.

Every year, 12.3 million pads are discarded, amounting to 1.13 lakh tonnes of waste.

“This agent in the new pad ensures that it decomposes in three to six months,” he said, adding that the Ministry was now pushing for research in green polymers and biodegradable plastics.

The sanitary pads were later distributed to students from four schools.

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