Have you ever tried to something to save the environment? Do you wish to save your planet, and find ways to do so? Did you ever believe that your attempt will be too small, and thus would not count? Here is the tale of a man, who believes nothing is small. Who understands the essence of every drop of water, and believes in saving that one drop. Who takes out his Sunday for the environment, while the rest of the days are for his own life.
This story is about Abid Surti, the multi-talented author, painter, cartoonist, playwright, journalist and environmentalist. Aged 78, Surti lives in Mumbai and has been very dedicated towards his mission of water conservation. At the age when most people want to retire from any kind of work, Abid on the other hand started this initiative in 2007, when he was 71. The method of Abid is very simple, but interesting. Every Sunday morning, three people (Abid, a plumber and a volunteer) go to one appartment in Mira Road and ask the residents if they have any tap leaking. They offer to repair the tap for free.
The initiative has turned out to be a huge success in the area. He is welcomed warmly by most households. People like the concept too. When asked, what is his reward for the job done? “A lot of water saved. And sometimes, an offer for lunch.”
“The leak problem in ghettos and lower middle class areas is worst. A plumber’s visit costs a minimum of Rs. 100, which poor families can not afford.” says Abid during an interview. And it is the truth that middle and upper class people do not bother to call the plumber because of a leaking tap. After all, not much water gets wasted if it leaks.
Well, the reality is that a tap, leaking at one drop every second wastes about 25 litres water a day, which means about 200 litres water a week or 10,000 litres water every year. So now, you do know that if a tap is repaired, it can save a lot of water and cause a big difference to the environment.
Abid has been active from the past 7 years and runs a one-man NGO called ‘Drop Dead’. This NGO is gaining a lot of popularity in many parts of the world. Recently, a television channel from Berlin gave a 10 minutes slot to Drop Dead, airing it in European countries. For the first year, Abid says that they were able to visit 1,666 houses on Mira Road and fix 414 leaking taps for free. The estimation of water saved is around four lakhs litres. So you can observe how a little step can be a catalyst for bringing such a huge change.
Surti himself grew up in an area which faced severe water scarcity. He saw people fight for water. Thus, he can not watch a single drop of water getting wasted. This is his inspiration for such a big campaign of repairing leaking water taps. The average expenditure, he mentions, is about Rs. 600 every Sunday. The gaining popularity of the NGO ‘Drop Dear’ helps him with the financial support. Surti has a message for every Indian “You may not be able to save the Ganges or the Yamuna from where you are but you can save a few drops here and there, and those few drops count.” Here is the link to a short documentry prepared on his intiative ‘Drop Dead’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXoO6CWw8mU
The article speaks a short story about a great man, someone who is contributing in his own way to the environment. It surely gives us a lesson that how every one of us can help in maintaining our surroundings and thus, follow green living. You have very important works to do? You cannot pay a lot of money? You are too busy to devote a whole day to nature? It’s all fine. But do whatever you can. Even this idea of bringing a plumber to your society and get all the leaking taps repaired is appreciable. You will be a part of the initiative itself. Moreover, it is not something which demands a lot of time and money. Just try to imagine, if this campaign is spread in different areas of the nation and not only remains confined to Mira Gate in Mumbai. It will really decrease the wastage, and thus demand of water.
There can be many other ways to make the planet greener. What’s needed from all of us is a commitment and resolution towards a better world. A few hours a week do not disturb your whole life. Rather, once you start working for a cause, it makes you happier and results in the development of your personality. It gives you a whole lot of experience, and leads to a greener world. You do not need to be a high profile environmentalist or social worker to be able to do this for the eco-system. You only should be enthusiastic to do your bit. Every drop counts. Every effort matters. Every individual makes a difference.