Urbanization & Personal Hygiene: An Ecofriendly Cohabitation

Manisha Agarwal, Founder & Director, KolanKolan is a technology-backed Wellness & Household products company specializing in offering a wide range Wipes and Household Cleansing products that are biodegradable & environmental-friendly.

At the advent of the 21st century, the percentage of Indians living in cities stood at a measly 28 percent. Come 2030, it is projected to stand at upwards of 45 percent. But that was not always the case. Pre - liberalization era, Indian landscape was dotted with small towns and villages. The rate of urbanization really took flight during the late 90s and into the 21st century. While this change might have ushered better and longer lives, it has come so at the expense of the very Mother Nature that has been nourishing us so far.

The environment today is under much higher duress than it was at any time in history. It is arguably one of the biggest challenges mankind will be facing in the foreseeable future. We must start looking at ways that are less deleterious when it comes to the environment, and one of the obvious areas where we can hope of bringing a noticeable improvement is that of personal hygiene and public sanitation.

Most of the products available in this sector are composed of many toxic chemicals which can have disastrous impact, not only for us, but also for
the ones with which we cohabit this planet. For instance, most of the detergents and dishwashing liquids contain copious amount of VOCs and toxic chemicals like triclosan, which are believed to aid the growth of drug - resistant bacteria. Even the seemingly innocent air fresheners have been found to react with high levels of ozone from indoor sources (say, an air cleaning device) or from outdoor air to form formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen.

All this is without considering the chemical process that is involved in their manufacturing. Is there a way out of this? Sure there is. Though going green and choosing products with minimal carbon footprint is not the panacea of all ills, it sure is a step forward to-wards a cleaner greener tomorrow.

There is a need to create products which are not just good value for your money, but also do least environmental damage and once their shelf life is over, go down silently

Of late, companies in the sector too have begun to realize this and are starting to come-out with products that fit the bill of any nature conscious individual. The use of natural bamboo fibers in wipes and the use of naturally occurring enzymes and surfactants in cleaning products and solutions are some of the innovations that have been witnessed in the recent times.

The trouble with waste management and sanitation, both within and outside the four walls, doesn't end with the chemical component of the products. It extends beyond that to include collection and segregation. On an average, Indian cities generate 900 million tons of waste per year, out of which almost 50 percent is organic, with share of recyclable components on the rise. Less than one-fifth of them actually find their way back into the households i.e. recycled. While designing products, care must also be taken to look at their end use and the ways in which they can be collected, segregated and disposed.

There is a need to create products which are not just good value for your money, but also do least environmental damage and once their shelf life is over, go down silently. They must be biodegradable and fully recyclable. This is not just wishful thinking. It has been achieved by us and can be achieved by everyone else. All that we need is a little faith in our customers and a lot of will to do the right thing.