“Save water or drop dead”, says 80-year-old Aabid Surti from Mumbai. The line makes one stop and introspect. Even if you have scrolled past news articles of Cape Town preparing to shut off all taps amid a water crisis, it would be hard to unsee a poster that says “DROP DEAD” in a bold font.
That’s how Surti gets your attention and once he has it, he makes sure you feel the need to SAVE. EVERY. DROP. “They (people) are ignorant. They think one drop doesn’t matter but one drop every second means thousands of litres that can fill rivers. Once they are made aware of the amount they are wasting, they’ll realise the magnitude of the loss,” Surti says.
His one-man NGO called Drop Dead Foundation, which fixes leaky taps around neighbourhoods in Mumbai for free, had saved 4.14 lakh litres of water in 2007, its first year. Why? Firstly, no one else will and secondly, the sound of water dripping from a leaky tap perturbs him. “I was raised on the streets, where obtaining even one bucket of water is a struggle. Fights would break out while filling water at the taps because every person living on the streets is water-starved. This tragic time in my childhood has stuck with me forever and it keeps me going in the fight to save water,” Surti tells InUth.
Ahead of World Water Day, UNESCO released a report that predicts an intense water crisis by 2050. The report highlights that India is on the list of countries which would face acute water shortage. One hopes we’ll take matters into our hands before our situation becomes as grim as Cape Town.