Tag Archives: Rainwater

Drop Dead, Mumbai!

Mumbai Dead Drop‘Drop Dead’, a foundation started by AabidSurti offers free plumbing services to residents of Mumbai, saves water one drop at a time.

AabidSurti who lives in Mira Road, a Mumbai suburb, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Hindi Sahitya Sanstha of the Uttar Pradesh Government in 2007. He is a painter, cartoonist, author, playwright and water warrior.

In 2007, AabidSurti read an article that talked of how much water was lost for every drop wasted. “One drop wasted in every second implies a 1000 litres of water being wasted in 24 hours. That’s quite a count! I grew up in shanties in Mumbai when I came from Gujarat and I know the value of water. That led me to set up Drop Dead Foundation,” he says. The aim of the Foundation is to fix leaky taps and help save water. Every Sunday, Surti goes door to door doing just this.

Tejal Shah, the chief co-ordinator of the Foundation, joined Surti five years ago. She goes door-to-door to various apartment complexes to get permission to enter their premises come Sunday. Many apartments have already called them. “We don’t enter the premises without permission. We understand that people are hesitant to open their doors.” But getting prior permission doesn’t imply that everybody allows them to fix their leaky taps.

The most common problem is that the washer has gone bad. She says, “It costs me Rs.20-35 to just buy the spare part. The expensive component of the repair is the plumber’s labor cost and we provide that. But even then, we find people who don’t want to fix it.” Rather than get bogged down by such responses, they just go and save the next drop. Once they’re done with the apartment, they make arrangements for their next visit and also drop off a poster the following Monday.

Plumber Riyaz Ahmad checks the reason for the leak.

PlumberPlumber Riyaz Ahmed also joined Surti three years ago. He found the painter’s work and perspective of saving water drop by drop very interesting. So he offered his services for free. But over time, people have come forward to fund the foundation, so he takes away Rs. 500 every Sunday for his services. These funds come from philanthropists and people who see Surti at various conferences and want to support this simple but effective task.

Together, the trio manage to spread awareness on saving water. Once the leaky pipes are fixed, they stick a small poster right next to the wash basin.

Let’s save every drop!

Let's save every dropThe poster reads: ‘Save every drop or drop dead’, a message AabidSurti has carried on. After this poster is stuck, they take the name and address of the person whose pipe they have fixed. Till date, the trio has visited more than 6000 homes in Mira Road area. Surti says, “What I am doing is not unachievable. It is simple. You can take up this cause too.”

He has inspired a few people. They write to the painter, who promptly sends off his material–the poster–via mail. He says, “One only needs to be determined to continue this. You can join the team on any Sunday. Just call us at 09820184964 and save every drop or drop dead.”They are funded by various agencies and authority holders of housing societies. The only money required is for the spare parts and plumber’s fee. The plumber fee is very nominal–just Rs500 each Sunday, regardless of the number of the visits.

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Plant them quick and soon

Plant them quick and soonIt was a rare outing for students of Government Higher Primary School at Kanminike to the south of Bangalore. Accompanied by five teachers, over 100 students walked into the Global Eco Club (GEC) farm on Mysore Road. They went around in a line, enjoying the fresh air on a sunny day. Some of them chased butterflies, while others curiously watched honeybees at work.

Finally, they assembled at a place where they were told that each of them could pick up a plant of their choice. Their faces lit up, as their eyes reached for their favourite ones. As they walked away with their favourite pick, after a refreshment of biscuits and water, Arun Kumar, who runs GEC, broke into a broad grin.

Nurturing love for the environment in young ones is one of the many activities of GEC, which is striving for a greener Bangalore. Arun gave up his eight-year franchise of Reliance Infocomm to pursue his passion. “I felt I should do something on the green front,” says Arun, who came up with the idea of Project Gandhadagudi to plant sandalwood saplings in educational institutions. He first approached the management of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) and planted medicinal and sandalwood saplings on its sprawling campus.

“In one year, I planted over 2,000 saplings across Bangalore. PES University gave me a 20-acre land where I grew saplings of medicinal, fruit and flowering plants, besides vegetables,” says Arun.Arun says he was inspired by SalumaradaThimmakka [Thimmakka of the saal trees], the environmentalist who planted and tended to nearly 300 trees along a 4-km road in Magadi taluk of Ramanagaram district. “If you have the passion and idea to do some service, support will come your way,” he feels. “My policy is to sell and serve. Initially, I executed all works of GEC with my personal savings. Now I sell saplings to corporates, estates and other individuals to raise funds for initiatives like planting saplings in educational institutions and giving saplings for free to school students. My aim is a garden in every house of the city. I want to build a strong community to protect the environment,” he adds.

The farm is also a model of how rainwater can be properly utilized. It is sustained by just one borewell, which is recharged with rainwater collected in pits dug at four different spots. The farm, with around 20 fruit and several medicinal trees, has a separate section for indoor plants apart from special species to attract butterflies and bees. “I’m aiming to make Karnataka the fruit capital of India,” adds Arun, who helps out farmers in association with the Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR). “GEC exists because this fragile earth deserves a voice. It needs action and support,” he signs off.

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