Published: 15th June 2019
Why Garvita Gulhati is a 'glass-half-full' kinda girl when it comes to saving the world
This Bengaluru-based environmentalist launched her water conservation start-up when she was just 15! Four years later, she’s marking her presence in the environment sector
For some of us, our early college years comprised chiefly of bunking classes, discussing philosophy and other things we didn’t have a clue about, dreaming of our future Ferraris and skillfully dodging student-professor encounters along the corridors. I can proudly say that I fall in this exclusive category and offer my condolences to those who didn’t have a memorable college life. And then there are those who have far exceeded what is expected of them at this crucial juncture in their life.
19-year-old Garvita Gulhati, currently pursuing an engineering degree from PES University, founded her organisation Why Waste? when she was just 15, and is also a certified calligraphy artist and trained kathak dancer. Garvita was deeply affected by the fact that over 14 million litres of water gets wasted each year and sought to change the mindsets of as many people and organisations as she possibly could. Why Waste? is essentially an initiative aimed at educating individuals about the importance of natural resources — in this case, water. “I am not too sure about how or when I actually became an entrepreneur. I wanted to become a change-maker and make a difference. Becoming an entrepreneur was part of the process. I intended to travel to various localities and teach people about water conservation, management and reduced consumption with simple solutions,” says Garvita, who currently lives in Bengaluru. Another issue that was picked up by her vigilant eye was the fact that most people gave trivial importance to the problem of water scarcity and she wanted to rectify this by formulating a lasting solution to the global water crisis. “My very first proposal was the half-glass idea at hotels and restaurants. This way, drinking water wouldn’t be wasted unnecessarily. This simple step helped optimise water usage in schools, corporate firms, colleges, NGOs and offices.”
My very first proposal was the half-glass idea at hotels and restaurants. This way, drinking water wouldn’t be wasted unnecessarily. This simple step helped optimise water usage in schools, corporate firms
Garvita Gulhati, Founder, Why Waste?
Her journey begins
Part of what enabled Garvita to excel in her water conservation efforts was the ability she had to work together with people from all walks of life. “We are working on getting youngsters involved, as well as school students, government agencies and toddlers in the 1-5 age group,” she explains.
She says that her passion for conserving water stemmed from her observation pertaining to the quantity of water being wasted at restaurants, “The restaurant sector is largely untouched and yet, it has so much potential. Nobody cares about water wastage occurring at hotels because it’s not your home or your office space — it’s a casual place where you go to unwind.” Garvita associates this relaxed, informal and commercial setting with negligence and lack of awareness, which in turn leads to water being wasted.
Pouring the goodness: Garvita regularly goes to restaurants and hotels to advise them to offer their customers half-glasses of water, to minimise wastage
Why Waste? seeks to tackle the water crisis issue along multiple fronts — to understand the human requirement for water, the consumption patterns, conserve water resources, mitigate unnecessary usage and ultimately prevent its unchecked wastage. “I wanted to do something different and help the world in various ways. It is important for us to not over-think the problem, and instead just do our very best to help the world,” says Garvita.
The organisation also hosts campaigns and modules that propagate techniques that every individual can follow to conserve water. “We motivate people using cartoons and books as well, to help shape people’s minds towards environmental consciousness. Being an NGO, our funding is primarily through grants and collaborations,” she says. Why Waste? faced several obstacles during its initial years, including lack of funding and social apathy. Fortunately, the tides of determination were just as tranquil as the water she seeks to save. Today, Garvita and her initiative have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with and given her tender age, things can only get better for this water warrior from Bengaluru.