07-08-2017 03:30 PM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
An artist and author who saves water, drop by drop
Aabid Surti is a hero. He has saved millions of litres of water by just fixing taps. Being a painter, national award winning author, cartoonist, journalist, playwright, screenwriter and an environmentalist, he just worked on an idea that came to his mind.
He read that a leaking tap results in a thousand litres of water going down the drain in a month. He imagined a thousand bottles of Bisleri being wasted and that thought kept creeping into his mind until he decided to do something about it.
Though Aabid was born into a well off family, he had to live on pavements as his family lost everything. There he realized the importance of water when people would fight over water. When he visited a friend’s house he was disturbed to see a tap leaking.
He was perturbed by the sight of water getting wasted and asked his friend why he didn’t get it fixed to which his friend replied that no plumber was willing to come to work on such a small matter as fixing a leak.
That is when a mission was born in Aabid’s mind. He started a one man NGO- Drop Dead Foundation which saved tonnes of water by just visiting homes and fixing taps for free.
He began to visit housing societies in Mumbai with a plumber and a volunteer. Initially, permission is obtained from the building secretary. Then a volunteer puts up posters about Drop Dead all around the society. On Saturday, pamphlets are distributed and residents are informed about the mission and that their homes will be visited to repair leaking taps. On Sunday, all leaking taps of the building are fixed and thus, plenty of water is saved.
Many people have been inspired by him and have emulated his example in their cities to save water. Aabid Surti’s website reads – “You can. One man can. So simple. Be a One Man NGO. You just need one plumber to accompany you.”
Surti says all it takes to fix a leak is a washer that costs half a rupee if bought in wholesale. It's the plumber’s fees and the commute that form the real cost of the social service.
Surti used the Rs 100,000 prize money of the Hindi Sahitya Sanstha Award he received from the Uttar Pradesh government towards his mission.
Annually, Surti visits an average of 1,600 homes and fixes around 400 leaky taps, saving around 414,000 litres water. There is a saying – Little drops of water make a mighty ocean. Surti has proved that every drop counts and every drop of water saved will benefit mankind.