September 6th, 2017
When you meet Garvita Gulhati and Pooja Tanawade, two 18-year-olds, bubbly, enthusiastic and full of life are the impressions you are sure of getting.
But there’s more to the college-going duo. These girls are showing Bengaluru and the nation to be more responsible and water-secure. Garvita and Pooja are the founders of Why Waste, an organisation working towards effective conservation of water and they have recently also started working towards addressing waste segregation.
Garvita and Pooja are the founders of Why Waste, an organisation working towards effective conservation of water and they have recently also started working towards addressing waste segregation.
These two girls are similar to what we all have been as teenagers. Full of life and vivacity, they love to paint, dance, listen to music and are Harry Potter buffs. But they have shouldered the responsibility to start something that helps in creating a better future for others. Let’s take a look at what shaped their journey so far.
When The Logical Indian spoke to Garvita about how they thought of starting a venture like Why Waste, she said, “It all began with Kuldeep Dantewadia making from Reap Benefits, visiting out school. In a presentation, he showed that 14 million litres of water are wasted from restaurants every day. This was one fact that baffled us beyond limits and we knew we had to do something before it was too late.”
That presentation made the girls realise that even they could do something for the betterment of the environment.
Coincidentally, both of the girls went to speak to their mentors at Reap Benefits seeking guidance about how to go about in their way to create a better and a sustainable future. They started by visiting restaurants in several areas of Bengaluru like Indiranagar, Koramangala and MG Road to speak to the managers and owners about the severe wastage of water and how to bring an end to it. Having received enthusiastic help from over 40 classmates, they could reach out to many eateries.
But a visit to these joints gave them one clarity. Merely talking to them could not help them materialise their larger goal. Garvita and Pooja decided on building up public awareness. They organised public campaigns in schools, apartments and in public spaces. “We soon realised, customers of these eateries will not merely listen to the restaurant owners unless they are conscious of the problem themselves. We decided to paint posters to raise awareness.”
These vibrant posters not only help in grabbing eyeballs about the importance of saving water but are aesthetically appealing as well. They strongly believe that at some point in time, the mindset of people will gradually change. People will no longer judge the services of a restaurant with if their half empty glasses are promptly being filled or not. This duo has come up with one idea, to mark glasses halfway with a small note to not waste half a glass of water.
“You can bring the change at a very primary level. Just use one glass of water every morning, while brushing your teeth. This might be a tiny step, but it will help all of us in the long run. Next time you eat out, make sure your glasses are empty before leaving the food joint,” Garvita added.
“One of the major challenges have been, earlier, whenever we have visited any restaurant, people have refused to take us seriously. This mainly is due to our lack of experience and young age,” Garvita said.
When they began the venture, at least 8 out of 10 food joints had refused to listen to them, but today, the response is much better.
“Within the community, I believe we could raise awareness and again, age has been working its magic in this context. People often raise their eyebrows in awe, saying how can kids take up such an initiative at such a young age?” Garvita added, justified pride resonating through her voice.
Garvita, a student of B.Tech from PES University, Bengaluru now is now focussing on another issue. This issue deals with waste segregation and management. They are looking to promote waste segregation. Waste will be collected from the restaurants and they will be decomposed. After the entire process of segregation and composting is done, restaurants can buy back the compost or they can even work as organic manure.
Handling by the hour and EcoTonicx are two other initiatives which this youngster is also spearheading. Ecotonicx is a series of cartoons which help in spreading awareness about the environment, whereas Handling By The Hour is an online newsletter which helps in inculcating leadership qualities among 9th Grade students and making them more socially aware.
Garvita and Pooja are an inspiration for many of us, considering the amount good deeds they have been doing for the society at such a young age. When The Logical Indian asked about her message to our readers, she said, “To see the change you want in the society, you need to take the responsibility and shoulder the pain. It has to begin with someone. Why not let the someone be you? It’s high time, we all take baby steps to do our bit.”
Ashoka Foundation has selected Garvita for their youth change makers program called Youth Venture. It mentors young change makers, supports them with new ideas and initiatives by connecting, social, business, financial and university leaders.
Click here to know more about the initiative
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