Dhamtari (Chhattisgarh): Burning of paddy stubble has made news due to the pollution it causes in north India, forcing the Supreme Court to take note of the environmental hazards caused by the burning of the stubble. However, a lady scientist in Chhattisgarh has found a revolutionary use for the paddy stubble. Her experiment is in the final stages.
Sumita Panjwani of Dhamtari district in Chhattisgarh has managed to put the paddy stubble to use for making sanitary napkins which are completely biodegradable after use.
The unique experiment has gone on for three years and the product has been tested to meet the standards set by the health authorities and the government.
At present, the Indira Gandhi Agricultural University in Raipur is helping Panjawani to give final shape to the napkins that will not only offer cheaper personal hygiene to women but will also bring down pollution and increase farmers' income through the use of cheaper organic manure.
Panjwani said the idea struck her when she often visited rural areas for social service. An MSc in food and nutrition processes, Panjwani, who earlier worked as a junior scientist in Jawaharlal Agricultural University in Jabalpur, said that there are large volumes of cellulose paddy straw which can be extracted with the help of chemicals.
It is like cotton in a way, which gets decomposed after use and gets mixed in the soil like manure. The sanitary napkins available in the market are still not affordable to all economic classes. But the ones she and her associates are developing could cost up to Rs 2 or 3.
All branded napkins contain synthetic strands, which are not biodegradable and damages the environment. Napkin made from paddy straw would prove to be better on these counts.
Panjwani said the pads will soon be available for commercial production.