What To Do With Menstrual Waste When Travelling?

Having your periods while travelling is stressful! But the headache of disposing of used sanitary products is a nightmare in India, where you don't even have access to women-friendly toilets!

Having your periods while travelling is stressful! But the headache of disposing of used sanitary products is a nightmare in India, where you don’t even have access to women-friendly toilets!

I always check my period dates before a travel plan to make it hassle-free. Nevertheless, we all know periods can get messy even in the comfort of a home.

But things do not go according to your plan all the time. So, what to do when homely comforts disappear and a woman or a girl has to step out? And her menstrual cycle sets in early?

Travel can happen in many a way: a getaway for the weekend, a road trip with your family, a business trip with colleagues or long hours on a flight with unexpected delays, unfamiliar people and uncomfortable surroundings.

Travelling while on periods is stressful!

Now, if we add periods to that, it just sounds more stressful. Unhygienic restrooms or public toilets, lack of enough water, presence of men near the location of the toilets and above all, early arrival or heavy periods can make travelling a nagging discomfort and messy one.

This New Year, we set out for a long road trip by car. We generally enjoy road trips. It not only makes us forget all our worries but creates memories along the way.

As per the plan, we started early in the morning and to my surprise, my periods came early. I was ready with enough sanitary pads and waste paper and plastic black disposal bags.

Where do I dispose of my soiled pads?

Yes, periods are occasionally inconvenient. But what is more inconvenient for me is disposing of soiled sanitary napkins while travelling on the highway.

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The thought of those unclean public toilets, the uncomfortable presence of people near toilets, and the lack of waste bins and disposal of the used pad; have dreaded me on the go.

Even when I am not on my period, I have seen the lack of women-friendly public toilets in some places while travelling, especially by road.

Going towards our destination, we stopped at many places, let it be for the toilet, tea–snack or meal. During this whole journey, I faced a huge problem in disposing of my used sanitary napkins.

Furthermore, while a soiled sanitary pad is the result of the normal process, but I felt disgusted at the sight of menstrual blood and used pads lying openly on the floor in some toilets, maybe by some fellow travellers.

How to even dispose of sanitary waste correctly?

The topic of menstruation is already a huge taboo in India, and this makes it all the more difficult to convince people to dispose of their sanitary waste in a certain way.

I wrapped my used pads in waste paper and put them inside a plastic bag that I carried with me. But my worry continued – whether those pads in the bin will be discarded properly later.

But one thing I did while returning home, was I did not dispose of my used pads anywhere – I took them back home for proper disposal.

I am sure both rural and urban women face this disposal problem, while government authorities struggle to find a way to handle the staggering amount of sanitary waste generated every month.

I am hopeful and looking forward to having women-friendly public toilets with proper menstrual waste disposal means in future.

Image source: IkoStudio, free and edited on CanvaPro

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About the Author

Utpala Bora Phukan

I am an educator, Soft-Skill Trainer & a mother. read more...

12 Posts | 7,803 Views

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