From Passion to Action: Garvita Gulhati's Vision for a Water-Secure Future

At just 21 years old, Garvita Gulhati has already left an indelible mark on the world through her unwavering dedication to water conservation. Hailing from Bengaluru, India, she is the founder of "Why Waste?" an organization aimed at sensitizing people about the water crisis gripping the nation. Garvita's journey began at the tender age of 13 when she first became actively involved in supporting environmental causes.

(Ndtv)

Founding "Why Waste?" alongside her friend Pooja S. Tanawade, Garvita defied age barriers to champion a cause she deeply believed in. Inspired by her upbringing in a conscientious household and fueled by her innate desire to effect positive change, Garvita embarked on a mission to tackle India's water crisis head-on. Inspired by her upbringing in a conscious household where the value of conserving resources was instilled in her from a young age, Garvita embarked on a mission to address the pressing issue of water wastage in restaurants.


Garvita's journey was ignited by a deeply impactful moment during a family trip to Ahmedabad. As she marveled at the dry expanse of a step well, a young girl approached her, not begging for money or food, but simply for water. This encounter served as a poignant reminder of the preciousness of water and the staggering inequalities surrounding its distribution. Motivated by this experience and driven by a desire to effect change, Garvita embarked on her mission to combat water waste.


She was deeply moved when she learned that the seemingly innocuous act of leaving  half-drunk glasses of water on restaurant tables contributed to a staggering 14 million litres of water wastage annually in India alone. This realization prompted her to take action, leading to the inception of "Why Waste?" The organization's primary objective was to change people's mindsets regarding water usage by implementing simple yet effective solutions. Through initiatives like the #GlassHalfFull movement, they successfully engaged with over 500,000 restaurants across India, preventing the wastage of over 10 million liters of water. Their efforts not only saved precious resources but also transformed mindsets, empowering individuals to recognize their role in water conservation. Even amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Garvita remained steadfast in her commitment to driving change, utilizing the slowdown to launch the app and further amplify the message of conservation.


In an interview with NDTV's Team Banega Swasth India, Garvita shared the pivotal moments that fueled her passion for water conservation. Recounting a poignant encounter during a family trip to Ahmadabad, she vividly described an incident where a young girl approached her, not for money or food, but for the water bottle she held in her hand. This encounter served as a wake-up call for Garvita, prompting her to delve deeper into the water crisis plaguing her country.


Driven by her desire to make a difference, Garvita spearheaded initiatives such as the #GlassHalfFull movement, which aimed to educate restaurant-goers about the importance of minimizing water wastage. However, the onset of the pandemic posed new challenges, compelling Garvita to innovate. It was during this time that she conceptualized the "Why Waste App," a mobile application designed to empower individuals to calculate their water footprint and adopt sustainable habits in their daily lives.


Garvita's advocacy extends beyond individual actions to systemic change. Recognized as a UN Youth Climate Leader, she advocates for Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation for All. She emphasizes the need for collaborative efforts involving businesses, governments, and communities to address India's water crisis comprehensively. By raising awareness and changing the narrative surrounding water conservation, Garvita hopes to inspire collective action towards a more sustainable future.


Garvita's impact transcends national borders, as she actively collaborates with global organizations such as UNICEF, Meta, and Ashoka. Her work has earned her recognition as one of the 17 Youth Climate Leaders representing the United Nations in India. She has been honoured with titles such as Global Changemaker, Ashoka Young Changemaker, and EarthDay Fellow, cementing her status as a trailblazer in the realm of social entrepreneurship. Additionally, Garvita was selected as the Young Social Changemaker of The Year in 2021, further affirming her dedication to creating systemic change for the better.


In addition to her organizational endeavours, Garvita is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of changemakers. Through initiatives like the Lead Young at Schools program, she has reached over 2.5 million students, instilling in them the belief that age is not a barrier to impactful action. Furthermore, her publication of "The Sustainability Stories" serves as a testament to her commitment to inspiring children to become stewards of the environment.


Garvita Gulhati's journey serves as a powerful reminder that individual actions, no matter how small, have the potential to catalyze profound change. As we navigate the complex challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, let us draw inspiration from Garvita's unwavering dedication and channel our collective efforts towards building a more sustainable future for generations to come. In collaboration with organizations like UNICEF, NDTV – Dettol's Banega Swasth India initiative, and countless others, let us heed the call to action and work tirelessly towards the realization of Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation for All. Together, we can turn the tide against the water crisis and pave the way for a brighter, more sustainable tomorrow.

Written By:

Saroj Sharma

Saroj has an experience of over 9 years working in the development sector as a social worker, educator and an independent researcher. She has worked extensively with the marginalized community in India and Nepal. She is an avid reader and takes a profound interest in writing, preferably human stories.

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