Wednesday, January 21, 2015

City getting serious about water

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Mumbai, 20th January 2015: BASF and Save the Children executives signed an agreement today after the two-day Creator Space™ Summit “Mumbai for Water”, part of the Creator Space tour, a week-long co-creation program now taking place at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in celebration of BASF’s 150th anniversary. 

Under the terms of the agreement, Save the Children and BASF intend to further explore the findings, from Creator Space during the upcoming on-site immersion phase in late February in Mumbai.
At the summit, more than 250 water experts, business professionals, NGOs, academia and interested citizens will discuss solutions to water challenges.

It comprised experts such as MCGM’s former additional municipal commissioner Rajiv Jalota, professor Rakesh Kumar from NEERI, professor S Parasuraman, director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and representatives from BASF Dr Raman Ramachandran and the NGO Save the Children.

Solutions discussed included making children ambassadors who spread awareness on the importance of saving water and constructing huge water tanks on high rises, which could also supply water to nearby slums.

Rajiv Jalota, MCGM’s former additional municipal commissioner, admitted that the city is yet to warm up to the rain water harvesting concept. “In Mumbai, people have access to excess water. So, they do not realise the importance of rain water harvesting. Even though BMC gives occupation certificates to buildings only after ensuring the rain water harvesting system is in place, people do not use them as they don’t feel the need for it,” Jalota explained.

Our attempt with Creator Space™ is “Improving access to safe affordable water through change in technology, policy and behavior’. Under one roof we have to get bureaucrats, consumers, academicians, employees from governmental organizations come together and co-create on the challenges and solutions related to equitable and safe water supply to Mumbai”, said Dr. Raman Ramachandran, Chairman and Managing Director, BASF India Limited & Head, BASF South Asia

Pramod Charankar, Retired Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Special Projects said, What interested me is the participatory approach rather than a bureaucratic approach that has been proposed for the Mumbai for Water Summit at Creator Space. It is a 360o approach including all stakeholders’ view into account.

Earlier, acclaimed artist Brinda Miller unveiled her latest art installation, ‘The Last Drop’, at the venue of the water summit in collaboration with Vikram Bawa and Vikram Arora. “Visually, water is one of the most beautiful elements of nature. As an artist I look at it as a natural art installation. I have never taken it for granted and I am sensitive to the problems that Mumbai faces - that despite adequate rain we have to deal with issues of quality and quantity of water”, said Brinda Miller. The installation will remain on display until January 23, 2015.

We very much welcome the commitment and leadership of BASF to share its knowledge and expertise to create interventions that can improve the living conditions of marginalized groups in Mumbai and in Kenya.Every man, woman and child should have access to safe water and healthy food, now and in the future. By pooling our expertise, influence and resources and by listening to the people impacted, we have the chance to create interventions that achieve wider positive effects in the communities we work with, said Dr. Sudeep Singh Gadok, Director, Programmes, Save the Children India, also at the signing ceremony.

Ace Bollywood director Shekhar Kapur and Lisa Ray, model turned actress and a cancer survivor. They talked about the importance of water and how the elite take water problems for granted. Mr. Kapur also made references on his upcoming movie – Paani which addresses this challenge. Lisa, a cancer survivor talked about how water’s unique properties and how it is used as a remedy for her treatment. In all, it was a very scintillating talk wherein they both asked people to take a stand and use water frugally. In the end Lisa pledged on using water judiciously and Shekhar has requested people to reduce consumerism – for e.g. a pair of jeans takes 6000 litres of water to get manufactured and we don’t even think twice before throwing it away.

On January 21, representatives from the municipal corporations, pollution control board, academia, NGOs, and companies will join in a discussion around organic waste management. Workshop on industrial water management, will be held on 22nd January

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