Menstrual hygiene: A challenging development issue
The major reasons behind menstruation still being a taboo in the Indian society are illiteracy, poverty and lack of awareness.

The blood coming out from vagina normally occurs as part of a woman’s monthly cycle called menstruation or periods. Every month, our body prepares for pregnancy. The uterus, or womb, sheds its lining in case of no pregnancy . The menstrual blood is partly blood and partly tissue from inside the uterus. We can say that periods are the onset of puberty in girls. During this time a girl goes through several physical and psychological changes in her body. It is associated with bleeding along with stomach ache , nausea as well as mood swings.
After the onset of puberty , it brings various rules, restrictions, isolation and changed expectations in the girls life by the society. These changes in attitude towards girls such as restrictions on their self expressions, schooling, mobility and freedom has far reaching consequences on the mindset of women.
In the Indian society menstruation is still considered as a taboo. Till now, adolescent girls are not given proper information about menstruation. People create major hurdles in educating girls about menstrual hygiene.

Mothers also don’t talk with their daughters about this topic because they feel shy while expressing the terms. Another reason they don’t discuss this topic is because most of them lack scientific knowledge on puberty and menstruation.
Most of the people in India, especially the girls are illiterate. This is one of the reasons for which menstruation is still a relevant taboo in our Indian society. The other important reasons are poverty and lack of awareness about menstrual health and hygiene.
Very less number (less than 18 percent) of Indian women use sanitary pads.

According to the latest National Family and Health Survey 58 per cent of young Indian women (15-24 years) use a hygienic method of protection (mostly sanitary pads) which is a significant increase from the 12 percent using pads in 2010. This is a consequence of greater attention to menstrual hygiene management over the past few years in India. This not only prevails in the Indian society but is a global issue.

On a global level, at least 500 million women and girls lack adequate facilities for menstrual hygiene management. The lack in appropriate information on sanitation and hygiene facilities, especially in public places like schools, workplaces or health centres can pose a major obstacle to women and girls.

In many families women’s freedom is still in the hands of patriarchal discourse. With the evolution of these cultures, there has not been any significant change in people’s attitudes and mentality towards menstruation.

In some families menstruation is still denoted as an unclean or embarrassing thing. For them even mentioning menstruation in public or private places is embarrassing. Most girls feel embarrassed to go to a medical store to buy sanitary pads for them. There are also many girls who cannot afford to buy the Sanitary Napkins.

Most of the girls in financially unprivileged families drop out of school when they begin to menstruate. More than 77 percent of girls and women in India use an old cloth, which is often reused, ashes, newspapers, dried leaves and husk sand during periods.

During these periods women are not allowed to participate in day-to-day activities. They are not allowed to enter the house or carry in with their household chores. They are even restricted from entering the kitchens. They are restricted from entering the temple. They are not even allowed to any sacred places and also not allowed to perform any rituals. They are restricted from doing all these works because they think that a menstruating woman is impure and everything she touches turns impure or bad. They think after menstruation a woman must be purified before entering the house or other places.
While menstruating, a woman goes through several psychological trauma and mood swings . During this time they should be given proper care but instead they are treated poorly by the society.

To prevent the troubles faced by the menstruating women in our society, we must give them proper education about menstrual health and hygiene, provide financial support or distribute sanitary napkins to the unprivileged women so that they don’t have to suffer the ill fate.

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The situation in which a person remains underprivileged from the basic necessities of life is called poverty. The person does not have an adequate supply of food to eat, shelter to stay, and clothes to wear. Most of the people in India are suffering from poverty. They cannot afford to pay even for a single meal a day. They sleep on the roadside and wear dirty clothes. They do not get healthy and nutritious food. They don’t get any medicine and other necessary things either.

The rate of poverty in India is increasing because urbanisation is increasing everyday. The people from rural areas are migrating to cities to find better employment. To provide the necessary needs of the family these people end up getting an underpaid job or an activity that pays only for their food. Most importantly, around crores of urban people are below the poverty line and many of the people are on the borderline of poverty.

Maximum people who are suffering in these poverty live in low-lying areas or slums. Most of the people are illiterate and for this reason in spite of efforts their condition remains the same and there is no satisfactory result.

There are many more reasons which can be said as the major causes of poverty in India. These causes include corruption, growing population, poor agriculture, the wide gap between rich and poor, old customs, illiteracy, unemployment and many more. Many people are engaged in an agricultural activity but in comparison to the earnings of other employees they get paid very less.

The more the population is, the more need of food ,houses and money. The deficiency in these needs results in the high growth of poverty. Thus as a result the difference and gaps between the extra rich and extra poor keeps on increasing.

The rich are growing richer and the poor are getting poorer resulting in the formation of an economic gap that is difficult to fill up.
Poverty affects the lives of people in many ways. It has various effects like illiteracy, reduced nutrition and diet, poor housing, child labor, unemployment, poor hygiene and lifestyle, and feminization of poverty, etc. These poor people are unable to afford a healthy and balanced diet, nice clothes, proper education, a stable and clean house, etc. because all these facilities require money and they don’t even have money to feed two meals a day.

Poverty in India impacts children, families and individuals in a variety of different ways through:

High infant mortality
Child labour
Lack of education
High infant mortality
Every year at least 1.4 million children die in India before their fifth birthday. In addition to Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and China, India is one of the countries with the highest child mortality rates. Most frequent causes of death of children are Pneumonia, malaria and diarrheal diseases as well as chronic malnutrition.

India is one of the world’s top countries when it comes to malnutrition. In India most of the people cannot afford to pay for even one meal. More than 200 million people don’t get adequate quantities of food among which 61million are children. 7.8 million infants were found to have a birth weight of less than 2.5 kilograms.

Child labour – no time to play and learn
As we all know, in India child labour for children under the age of 14 is prohibited by law, 12.5 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are working. In reality, there are more than 65 million children between 6 and 14 years old who do not go to school. Instead, for the sake of their family and to secure survival it is believed that Indian children contribute to the livelihood of their families; they work in the field, in factories, in quarries, in private households and in prostitution.

Lack of education – no opportunities without education
According to UNICEF, about 25% of children in India cannot afford education. The number of children excluded from school is higher among girls than boys. Under Indian law, women and men are treated equally but in the lower social caste girls and women are considered inferior. They are dominated by their fathers, brothers and husbands. The chances of finding a living wage from employment in India is virtually hopeless without education.

Due to poverty, many parents encourage early marriages for their daughters in hopes of better lives for them.

For solving the problem of poverty it is necessary for us to act quickly and correctly. Some of the ways of solving these problems are to provide proper facilities to farmers. So that they can make profit from agriculture and do not have to migrate to urban cities in search of employment.

Illiterate people can live a better life if they are provided with required training. Everyone should follow family planning to check the rise in population.
We should take measures to end corruption, so that we can deal with the gap between rich and poor.

Poverty is not the problem of a single person but also of the whole nation.. We should deal with it on an urgent basis by taking effective measures. Eradication of poverty has become necessary for the sustainable and inclusive growth of people, society, country, and economy.

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Effects of plastic bags on environment


Plastic bags are the main cause of plastic pollution. The pollution which is destroying our environment. To reduce pollution plastic bags must be banned. Humans try to decompose them but it does not decompose instead it leads to air, water as well as soil pollution. It is said that plastic bags are the leading causes of increasing pollution.
For this reason plastic bags are banned in various countries. In spite of knowing the consequences, plastic bags are still used widely in most parts of the world making it harmful for the environment.

Plastic bags are readily available in the market and are used widely.These are popular at the grocery stores, markets, etc because they are handy and are comfortable to carry the grocery items like rice, wheat flour, pulses. Apart from grocery items it is used to carry veggies, fruits etc.

It is available in various sizes; these are quite economical and also easy to carry or use. But the cost for using these bags -is overlooked. These bags are costing us our beautiful environment. The plastic bags that we use in our everyday life are very much harmful to the environment. The actual problem is much more severe than it appears to us.

Plastic bags are destroying the soil making our agricultural lands infertile. It also causes several other serious problems. To ensure a cleaner and greener environment many countries have banned the use of plastic bags. Among those countries, India is one of them.

Our country has banned the use of plastic bags in many states. However, the implementation of this rule hasn’t been proper.

These are still available in the market. The retailers provide goods in these bags, and the shoppers gladly take their stuff in these easy to carry bags. And another reason for this does not have a proper option to replace them.

It is time for each one of us to understand the severity of the issue and stop the use of plastic bags.

Plastic Bags – A Boon or A Bane /A Curse?

Plastic bags are lightweight and can be carried anywhere without much effort.

This may sound like a blessing to us, but in reality it is much more harmful than its uses. They get carried away by the wind and water because of its light weight. They end up landing on the seas and water and pollute them. They get stuck in fences and pollute the environment while getting carried away with the wind.

The material used to make plastic bags is polypropylene. This material makes them durable thus making them last for a longer time. This polypropylene is prepared from natural gas and petroleum. They are non biodegradable in nature.
Green-house gases like Methane Carbon, Monoxide, and Carbon Dioxide are released during the production of various plastics products including plastic bags. This is a significant cause of global warming in the world today.

There is a misconception that recycling is an alternative to the misuse of plastic bags but recycling of plastic products cannot be a good choice because only 5% of the plastic bags can be recycled and the remaining 95% find their way in soil, water and landscape causing pollution. Only 35-40 percent of plastic bags are being recycled and the remaining 60% is not even known where it is gone.

As 60% of the plastic bags are not being traced, the producers are forced to produce more products to meet the needs of people. Everyone considers plastic bags as the most convenient bags to carry loads but it has the most harmful effects on human health.
Synthetic substances present in the polythene bags can disturb the typical working of hormones in the body.Most plastic pieces in the seas, like plastic bags, have a few contaminations, for example, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl) together with PAHs (Polycyclic fragrant hydrocarbons), which disturbs the normal function of our hormones.

When the marine creatures eat these synthetic substances, they travel through the food web then later into the people who consume sea animals, especially the fish.

How can we minimize their use?
In many countries across the world plastic bags have been restricted in several nations all over the world.

In many states the Government of India has already restricted the utilization of plastic bags.

Strict measures must be taken to ensure that the use of these bags is stopped. There must be curbs on the production of plastic bags altogether.
Retailers for selling as well as those who are carrying and using plastic bags must be fined.
Good quality plastic available in the market must be made chargeable. This is a good strategy to minimise the use of plastic bags.
To provide a proper alternative of polythene bags is another good strategy. The alternative must be cost efficient and have to be similar in use.

We had often overlooked and underestimated the harmful consequences caused due to plastic bags because we don’t notice the long term effect of these small, easy to carry bags used in our daily life.

People keep on using these bags owing to their convenience. They completely ignore the real fact about these bags that they are harmful for the environment and are a threat to life on earth.

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