Every year, since 2014, the 30th of January is observed as the National Cleanliness Day. It is an occasion to think about cleanliness, the importance of it and the impact it can have on our lives. It is a day to recognize how cleaning has shaped our world and how we can make it better. This year it falls on a Sunday, so we have the weekend to plan something fun and rewarding. In this blog, you will be able to grab a lot of information about what the national cleanliness day is, what we as a society can do about it, how is menstrual hygiene and cleanliness related, the impact that cleanliness has on our lives, and what Saathi is doing to contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment.
What is National Cleanliness Day and what can we do about it?
National Cleanliness Day is a day to focus on keeping our environment clean. We tend to take cleanliness for granted, but as a matter of fact, about 2.4 million people die each year because of poor sanitation and hygiene. Many of these deaths are children under the age of 5, who are more likely to get diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia if their surroundings aren’t clean. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) has become a key public health issue and has been recognized in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG). Clean water and sanitation is a UN SDG 6 which says, ‘Ensure access to water and sanitation for all’. In fact, one in three people do not have access to safe drinking water and 2 out of 5 people do not have a basic hand washing facility with soap and water. In addition to that, more than 673 million people still practice open defecation. According to WHO, hand washing is one of the most effective actions a person can take to reduce the spread of pathogens and prevent infections. Still, billions of people lack safe water and sanitation.
Another important fact to put in the spotlight is that some of the most common and deadly infectious diseases spreads due to poor sanitation and hygiene such as- cholera, diarrhea, typhoid, fever, polio, meningitis, etc. Each day, nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation related water diseases.
The number of people defecating in the open in India has reduced significantly by an estimated 450 million people. This tremendous achievement has become possible because of the Swachh Bharat Mission led by our Prime Minister. However, we need to ensure sustained use of toilets and hygiene practices by all and all times.
It is important to realize the impact cleanliness has on our lives, and to take steps to keep our surroundings clean. This year, on Sunday, January 30, we can observe National Cleanliness Day by focusing on keeping our home, workplace & community clean and by many other ways which are mentioned in this blog below.
For many people, the word ‘cleanliness’ brings to mind the absence of germs and dirt. But the WHO defines cleanliness as more than just the absence of dirt and germs. It also refers to things like personal hygiene, such as taking a shower or brushing your teeth, and the environment around you, such as keeping your home clean.
How is sustainable menstruation hygiene and cleanliness related?
When we talk about menstrual waste, it is basically caused by the use of menstrual products that are made with plastics, chemicals, and are non-biodegradable in nature.
Majority of women from around the world use products that are made with plastics & chemicals which in turn goes into the landfills or oceans, takes forever to decompose, and ultimately harms the environment. If the use of these products is not stopped, the graph of environmental harm is only going to go upwards. The only way forward is to stop using plastic products and start using eco-friendly products that are biodegradable and compostable. This not only saves the environment but also saves the planet from the unnecessary use of plastic. Biodegradable and compostable menstrual products are the future and we must all strive to go for them. In order to get the change to the next generation, people have to keep telling their own generation that this is what we need and this is the change we want. It is important to keep pushing the message and keep spreading awareness so that we can make a difference in the world for a sustainable future.
Here is how Saathi contributes to a healthy and clean environment:
Since its foundation in 2015, Saathi continues to work on creating a toxic-free environment by manufacturing menstrual products. Our products are made with bamboo and banana fiber that are completely biodegradable, plastic-free and chemical free. We focus on doing our work in such a way, that neither you nor the environment has to compromise.
The 3 pillars of our business are- body, community, and environment. Through our inclusive business model, we not only provide sanitary pads to women who don’t have access and empower women in our local community, but also promote a sustainable environment. Refer to our impact page to read more about it. Over the years to further this mission Saathi has a partnership with the Toilet Board Coalition. Saathi has always been vocal about menstruation, menstrual products and the waste generated as a result of it. This waste goes into the oceans, landfills, several rural areas, and even many of the abandoned urban areas. While it may not seem like a big deal to many people, this waste plays a huge part in harming our environment. We all live below the same sky, we breathe the same air, and we share the same land that is our Earth, so unless we as a society do not show global efforts towards a cleaner, healthier and eco-friendly environment, we are always going to be one step behind.
We thrive to work towards a better world and we have been working hard, every day to reach all the Sustainable Development Goals. We have been making efforts by replacing the plastic, making pads that are completely compostable which means no CO2 and no plastic waste, by organizing many workshops for awareness in schools, colleges, and workplaces.
In addition to that, Saathi makes sustainable menstrual products such as sustainable sanitary pads, sustainable menstrual cups, sustainable toothbrush and combs, etc which should definitely be in your wishlist.
We all live below the same sky, we breathe the same air, and we share the same land that is our Earth, so unless we as a society do not show global efforts towards a cleaner, healthier and eco-friendly environment, we are always going to be one step behind. So let’s be the change together and work for the betterment of us and for the generations to come.
Here are some ways in which you can observe the National Cleanliness Day this year:
- By organizing a clean-up project in your community.
- Host a drive to collect items that would be appropriate to donate to a local homeless shelter.
- By shifting from plastic menstrual products to sustainable & eco-friendly menstrual products.
- Offer to help clean up a local park or nonprofit organization’s building.
- Organize a day of service to beautify an area in your city.
- By promoting sustainable organizations & businesses by shopping from them and encouraging other people to do the same.
- By educating yourself, your friends and family about the National Cleanliness Day and sustainability.
- Activities such as cleaning out your closets and giving out clothes that you do not use anymore to the underprivileged people, so you work towards two different issues at the same time.
- Dust your furniture. Clear your dishes from the cabinet.
- Clean out your pantry and refrigerator. Get rid of expired goods that no one is using.
The possibilities are endless and now it’s our time to take one step forward to a cleaner environment. It's important for parents to teach and model healthy habits - such as washing hands before meals, regular brushing of teeth and bathing, and even keeping the surroundings clean - to their children from a young age because the habits which we learnt or followed in childhood often influence our behavior and personality in adulthood.
The issue of menstrual hygiene, hygiene in general, and poor sanitation is bigger than ever and on this National Cleanliness Day, it is our time to take a pledge towards making the world a better place to live in. You can make your contribution by taking a step just as easy as keeping your surroundings clean. Another thing that can be done is to switch to a sustainable lifestyle.
We hope that this blog helps you understand the importance of National Cleanliness Day and encourages you to work towards the betterment of no-one but yourself and your loved ones. Take a look around and ask yourself this question- ‘Is this the kind of world I want to live in?’ ‘Is this it?’, and if not- then be the change. Do whatever you can in your power to make this world the kind of healthy place that you wish to live in. And individually, together we will achieve what we thrive.
You can also contribute towards #1 million pads campaign where we donate the eco-friendly pads to the rural women and adolescent girls on the amount that has been raised, since they are the most vulnerable group when it comes to access to eco-friendly hygienic products.
Also, Saathi has partnered with Tattv Bodh Foundation in #1Million Pads campaign, under which Tattv Bodh has been raising funds under 'Give India Fundraising Challenge 2022' which starts on 1st February 2022 and ends on 31st March 2022'.
Whatever contribution would be made, an equivalent number of sanitary pads would be distributed to rural women, which means less non-biodegradable menstrual waste would end up in the landfills.
If you know of any activities that people can do to contribute to this amazing day- please let us know in the comment section below! Don’t forget to spread the word about National Cleanliness Day and encourage participation of others towards a better environment and health.
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- 10 habits to adopt for a better and sustainable future