Small steps for a green planet

Updated: Jun 06, 2014, 09:54 IST | A Correspondent

Great ideas and simple plans are making a difference to the environment across Mumbai and Maharashtra

>> Drop Dead is a one-man NGO to conserve water by Aabid Surti. He offers free plumbing services to correct leaking taps. They believe that you can be part of this movement just by closing the taps left open by forgetful people. Every Sunday morning Surti visits buildings with the plumber Riyaz and a volunteer Tejal to check every tap from each apartment, from the ground to sixth or seventh floor; Surti corrects the leaking taps free of charge. In one year (2007), they visited 1,666 houses, fixed 404 leaking taps and saved about 4.14 lakh litres of water.

The Fig Tree poster. Chakravarty covers various other topics ranging from global warming, lack of sanctuaries, bird-watching, wild cats to elephant poop

>> 26-year-old cartoonist, illustrator and animation designer Rohan Chakravarty’s blog Green Humour, is a haven for cartoons and comics related to the serious and the humourous side of nature. Based in Bengaluru (originally from Nagpur) he started his blog after an inspirational trip to Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary where he spotted a tigress. Our favourites are his posters — caricatures of Indian birds and animals. Green Humour has won two awards: 1st prize in the UNDP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Asia-Pacific Cartoon Contest on Climate Change, and the Sanctuary Asia Young Naturalist Award 2012. It is also distributed online by Universal Press Syndicate’s Gocomics, making it the first and only comic strip from India to be distributed internationally by a major syndicate.
EMAIL: (posters) cost Rs 400 for A3 and Rs 100 for the second poster if  you order more

>> Recycling is one of the most effective ways of preserving the environment, and if it promotes education, it’s like scoring a double whammy. Mumbai-based NGO Aarambh offers a unique way of providing bags and desks for students in rural areas. They worked with designers to create a model that transforms old cardboard boxes into convertible desks and school bags. Titled Help Desk, the convertible desk folds quickly and after a few simple moves, turns into a bag to carry books. The team is now working on developing a low-cost material that can be coated on its surface to help it repel water so it can be used even in the monsoon.

>> Dr Prasad Deodhar, an ayurvedic doctor from Sindhudurg, has set up Bhagirath Gramvikas Pratishthan (BGP) that has been spearheading biogas plants on the basis of bamboo plants. BGP has been most effective in getting rural youth involved to understand and imply rural issues, from agricultural to education and women empowerment. His network includes villages like Parpoli, Kalase, Gothos, Wadiwaravade, Pinguli, Bibawne, Humras and Zarap. In all, he has set up 1,500 biogas units in 10 villages of the area. They have saved 4,500 trees per year so far.

>> A simple idea that originated in The Philippines is the inspiration behind Liter of Light Mumbai that provides a cost-effective method to light homes in the city where electricity is a problem. It deals with a very simple concept — a 1.5 litre soft drink bottle, filled with water and liquid bleach, suspended from a roof, gives out (white) light equal to a 55-watt
electricity bulb. This results in plummeting electricity bills and some contribution towards reducing global warming.
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