In Andhra Pradesh, kenaf or ‘Gongura’ leaves find a steady use in the local cuisine. The plant is also well-known for its other subsidiary uses in ropes, twines and some coarse fabrics, similar to jute in texture. But student duo Niveda and Gowtham from Tamil Nadu has upgraded the indigenous kenaf fibre to a whole new level, by manufacturing a super-absorbent, biodegradable sanitary napkin from the edible plant. Both of them are pursuing their Masters in Apparel Technology at Kumaraguru College of Technology in Coimbatore.
The product has earned accolades at a number of national scientific conventions and is being locally marketed now under the name ‘Bliss’.
What makes kenaf fibre ‘Bliss’ pads a true bliss for users
Commercial sanitary napkins which contain Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP) and other harmful chemicals are raising health concerns among many women who suffer from side-effects like rashes, itching or even hormonal disturbances. Also, the ultra-thin, heavily scented pads which we find on our supermarket shelves contain around 80% plastic which makes them non-biodegradable. A single commercial pad takes around 500-800 years to decompose completely. Many organisations are coming up with alternatives like cloth pads and menstrual cups, but those also find a number of drawbacks.
This is the first time an eco-friendly menstrual product has been made which is nearly similar to the commercial pads most women are accustomed to using. As per feedback from the regular customers of ‘Bliss’, the kenaf fibre pad has truly been a bliss in their lives.