Sunday, November 29, 2015

Rotary Club of Deonar, Eureka Forbes Institute of Environment and Avanti Foundation set up project ‘Surakshit Jal Dhara’ in Baiganwadi

Rotary Club of Deonar, Eureka Forbes Institute of Environment and Avanti Foundation set up project ‘Surakshit Jal Dhara’ in Baiganwadi

Mumbai, 7th November, 2015: In a step towards addressing the health problems faced on account of unhealthy drinking water consumption at Baiganwadi in Govandi, Eureka Forbes Institute of Environment has partnered with Rotary Club of Deonar and Avanti Foundation to launch a social platform as part of the ‘Surakshit Jal Dhara’ project. Further to this, by Mr. Subhash Kulkarni, Rotary 3140 District Governor was invited today by the trio to inaugurate a new Water Shop set up at the location through a local trust of entrepreneurs from the community as a sustainable social business model.

Govandi, one of the most underdeveloped localities of the city, has been observing an upsurge in number of problems owing to general lack of sanitation combined with contaminated water leading to chronic waterborne ailments. Nearly 49 per cent households in the community have to borrow money, mainly for health and consumption loans, the repayment of which stresses the already low income that people have.  Baiganwadi, located between Shivaji Nagar and Mankurd, is no exception to this abysmal situation. Out of the population of 2, 00,000, less than 2% follow proper hygiene, only 5% have access to safe water, and over 80% are living below the poverty line. Moreover, enclosed by Mumbai’s largest waste dumping ground to its north and the Thane creek to its east, the slum is surrounded by heaps of garbage and public defecation, adding to its grave problems of drinking water contamination and sanitation.  

Residents of Baiganwadi have in the past mounted containers on their cycles and wheels all the way to the highway about a kilometre away, or to neighboring areas, to collect water from private tankers or from people who sold water from their own connections. Taking cognizance of this need to provide clean and healthy drinking water to this community and to combat the infrastructural inadequacies, ‘Surakshit Jal Dhara’ project has been envisaged, with a larger vision of empowering the group and providing them with a mechanism to safeguard themselves from hazardous diseases that emerge merely from drinking contaminated water.
Apart from granting the inhabitants of Baiganwadi access to safe drinking water at an affordable cost of Rs.0.50 per litre, this innovative initiative provides a great platform for locals belonging to the community, to explore their entrepreneurial-side by partaking in the managing and controlling of the Water Shop. This undertaking offers a unique opportunity to the locals to earn their livelihood by owning and supervising the operations of the water filtration units thus empowering them.
Talking about this initiative, Mr.Ajit Pappu, President- Rotary Club of Deonar, said, “It is a matter of immense honor to be associated with Eureka Forbes Institute of Environment and Avanti Foundation in support of this noble cause. About 83% of diseases that Mumbaikars are affected are water borne in nature. The Baiganwadi area, on account of lack of basic amenities like proper drainage and public health facilities, are prone to life-threatening illness on account of water contamination. Through the launch of the Water shop in this area we aspire to offer the communities affordable and hygienic drinking water option so that they can keep themselves and their families safe and healthy in the long run. We are also certain that this initiative will enable the local communities running the Water Shop, to feel more independent and empowered thus making a significant difference to the well-being.”

Mr. A.V. Suresh,Trustee, Eureka Forbes Institute of Environment said, “The key to the success of such projects is involving the community. The current project is designed to empower a local trust of entrepreneurs from Baiganwadi. In fact, it also has a health education component involved as well, which is essential as most people in the project area lack a good understanding of the need to consume safe water. Baiganwadi area receives scarce water supply, due to which residents have got into the habit of storing water for longer duration in drums. This leads to the rise in water-borne diseases among residents. We believe this initiative will play an instrumental role in safeguarding the health of people within the community by providing them easy access to safe drinking water.”
shared with sustain2green for publication

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