When Pawan Seksaria from Mumbai received a WhatsApp forward two years ago, his first instinct was to ignore it, considering the prevalence of fake news that circulates on the app.
But one part of him wanted to believe in the noble initiative by a fellow Mumbaikar to save the Earth’s most precious resource—water.
“If you want to prevent the earth from running out of water and secure the future of our children, take a step now! Contact Alpa Gala if you wish to install a water aerator in your tap. The device will reduce water wastage by 60%. The installation and device will be for free,” the message read.
Setting his doubts aside, Pawan contacted Alpa, a resident of Andheri, a suburb in the sprawling city.
The very next day, a plumber rang his doorbell on Napsean Road. He installed the water aerator in the tap and left without charging a penny.
Although a little surprised, Pawan was impressed and immediately forwarded the message to his near and dear ones.
It is amazing how Alpa is doing this selfless deed and making a huge difference in Mumbai. Gradually, this initiative is taking concrete shape, and I am proud to be a part of her movement, Pawan tells The Better India.
Like Pawan, more than 7,000 families in Mumbai have installed the water aerators with guidance from Alpa Gala. These devices claim to throw up three litres of water per minute instead of eight.
The 41-year-old homemaker was inspired by her brother-in-law, Prashant Gala. In 2017, when he was looking for water aerators online, Alpa wondered how many houses in the city had the water-saving device.
In no time, the thought escalated into a mission to provide them to as many families in the city as possible.
Speaking about her mission, Alpa says,
Saving water is our most cherished principle. At home, we take several steps to reduce water wastage like using buckets instead of shower heads, making sure our taps are running slow and so on.
Since she had always been mindful about saving water, she started telling her relatives about the device. Soon, they all installed these in their homes. The word also got around in her social circles and WhatsApp groups.
While many people preach about social causes and environment-friendly steps, very few take it upon themselves to invest their time, efforts and money.
Water crisis is inevitable and the only way to save our future is to use the existing water effectively. Many of us will not realise this, considering we get water throughout the day. Countries preparing for Zero Day is highly alarming, and we need to wake up. I am doing this as social service, and thus an extra effort will not hurt, she says.
With financial support from her husband and brother-in-law, Alpa provided the aerators for free across the city in the first year. But soon, she noticed that people did not value them.
I came across so many cases where people discarded the aerators after using them for a couple of days. We tend to value a product less when it comes for free. So, I started to charge Rs 50 for the aerator and continued the service for free, Alpa says.
A few months into the mission, many passionate Mumbaikars joined Alpa to spread awareness.
Around 15 people formed a group, ‘Balance Water’, learnt how to fit the aerator inside the tap and installed them in their respective buildings.
This way, more families started saving water.
One of them is Pawan. He demonstrated the water-saving device at The Bombay International School in South Mumbai. He also convinced around 30 families in his building to install the aerators.
Alpa’s movement has also reached other cities like Surat and Pune. Many schools have invited her to educate their students, “A couple of schools have asked that students convince ten families to use the aerators as part of their projects. I am happy and grateful that the movement is doing well.”
If you live in Mumbai and wish to install the aerator, write to Alpa at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will send a staff member to your place at your convenience.
Featured Image Source: Pixabay.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)