2015 Stockholm Water Prize winner, Rajendra Singh, known as the 'water man of India,' "believes that critically depleted aquifers can be revived with community effort." This is the story of Mumbai's Siddharth Runwal - our very own 'water man' - and his incredible community effort.Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, established under the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, oversees the civic infrastructure and administration of Mumbai's public spaces. Our 'sweeped gallis' and 'cleaned gutters' are thanks to the hardworking men that tirelessly endeavour to ensure that our city runs like a well-oiled machine that it truly is.But a 9 hour work day of cleaning is no easy task (heck, we can't even sweep our own bedrooms without needing a lie-in) - so when 16 year old Siddharth Runwal passed by three workers plunging into sewers without any safety equipment on, he was immediately struck by the gravity of the situation.However, after learning that the workers willingly chose not to use the gear that they were provided, Runwal understood that equipment may not be the best use of his resources. Nevertheless, determined and undeterred by the setback, he sought to find new ways to create a positive change.A few weeks later, Runwal met with Chandrakant Tambe, Junior Overseer of the BMC Solid Waste Management department, who informed him of the main factors that affect the workers' daily lives. Among these, was the mention of access to clean drinking water.Something often overlooked in our workplaces, are the running taps that supply us with clean water. At this very moment, your office probably has mineral water bottles scattered around its desks, or a water cooler (that your boss totally knows you only use to squeeze in a five minute break). But for the workers at the BMC, these commodities are rare to come by.Thus, with the help of several NGOs, Runwal raised 60,000 rupees and financed 12 water purifiers 9 different BMC outposts in Khar. These purifiers supply water to 1200 workers in the area, much to their appreciation and gratitude.We've heard of millennials being called the most selfish generation yet, but Siddharth Runwal, clearly shows us that the youth of today are initiating constructive social impacts through their acts of empathy and direct action.He reminds us that inside each of us is a world, mapping out and reaching forward to others, creating reactions. Mumbai, we hope our 'Siddharth Runwal' inspires you to create positive reactions, for your communities, together.
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