Two female students from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology(KNUST) looking at how difficult it takes some females to get menstrual pads during their periods have made sanitary pads out of banana stem.
The two, Miss Otoo-Quayson a final year Civil Engineering student while Matilda Sampong is in the second year pursuing Business Administration.
“According to statistics about 95% of girls in rural areas miss classes during this period and we thought to do something about this,” said Otoo-Quayson.
Nonetheless, pads are made of plastic materials. These have been found to complicate embryonic development, as they can lead to organ damage.
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Again, sanitary pads are not entirely made of cotton but a cellulose gel called dioxin.
Dioxin is listed by the WHO as a highly toxic environmental pollutant and has been linked to cancer and immune system damage.
The duo, therefore, set out to make a safer and environmentally friendly sanitary pad from cotton and Banana stem.
“This dioxin is harmful to the female reproductive system so we decided to develop a banana sanitary pad to make the pads healthful.”
Banana and plantain stem have proven to be effective absorbents.
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“In the Western world they use these stems to produce paper bags and diapers but it’s not been used to produce sanitary pads,” they identified.
Tests show the banana sanitary pads made were able to absorb much water just like their western counterparts.
Interestingly, aside from the environmental benefit, the banana sanitary pads are cheaper.
“The conventional ones you find on the market, the least is 5 cedis but for these ones because of the materials we used, it’s priced at 2 cedis,” they revealed.