A newspaper article in 2007 spurred Aabid Surti to action. The report stated that for every drop of water that fell per second from a leaky tap, 1,000 liters were discharged per month.
It was then that the 87-year-old established the Drop Dead Foundation, an NGO, with the slogan – “Save every drop, or drop dead”.
This one-man army walks around with a plumber and a volunteer, fixing leaky taps across Mumbai for free.
Growing up in Mumbai, Surti saw her mother queuing for water at 4 a.m. every day. He remembers seeing people fighting for water as they stood in line.
These experiences are why the need to save every drop comes naturally to him.
“I believe in saving every drop of water because I know its value. I was brought up on the sidewalk, and there I saw people fighting for every bucket of water. My childhood is behind me, but the fight for water still accompanies me today. So every drop and every leak haunts me,” Surti tells NDTV.
Every Sunday, he visits a building on Mira Road, Mumbai, to fix leaky taps.
To facilitate these Sunday visits, Surti visits the building the previous Monday to obtain the necessary permission from the secretariat and puts up posters. Then, the following Sunday morning, they start knocking on every door in that building, asking people if their faucets need fixing.
In this way, he has managed to save more than 20 million liters of water so far.
Besides being a water champion, Surti is also an author, painter, cartoonist, playwright, screenwriter and journalist.
Watch this video to learn more about this water warrior:
Edited by Pranita Bhat