Water ac­tivist Gary White praises In­dia’s ef­forts to clean up

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - Hindustan Times (Jaipur) - City - - Time Out - Neha Sharma

Gary White, Hol­ly­wood ac­tor Matt Damon’s part­ner in Water.org — a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion that helps peo­ple in the de­vel­op­ing world ac­cess safe drink­ing water and san­i­ta­tion — is all praise for In­dia’s en­deav­ours to­wards end­ing open defe­ca­tion and clean­ing up. White, who was named in the TIME 100 list of the world’s most in­flu­en­tial peo­ple in 2011, had come to In­dia with Damon in 2013, and vividly re­calls his in­ter­ac­tions with peo­ple, who ben­e­fited from the or­gan­i­sa­tion. “I re­mem­ber meet­ing a woman near Ban­ga­lore, who was pay­ing about `1,200 a month for ac­cess to a toi­let and safe drink­ing water for her fam­ily. She was able to se­cure a loan for a water con­nec­tion and to build a toi­let through our Watercredit pro­gramme. As it turned out, her loan pay­ment was ex­actly `1,200 a month and af­ter about 18 months, she was free and clear. Now she pays a small tar­iff for her water, sav­ing her fam­ily money and time,” says White, who founded Water.org with Damon in 2009. Ap­plaud­ing the govern­ment’s ef­forts to­wards clean­ing up In­dia, he says, “Peo­ple want to build the kind of bath­room they feel proud to own, use, and take care of. It is im­por­tant that we in­volve the in­di­vid­ual in the choice of what to build and it is ter­rific that Prime Min­is­ter Modi has cre­ated a scheme that re­im­burses peo­ple for the cost of build­ing a ba­sic toi­let. The PM’S vi­sion has cre­ated the right en­vi­ron­ment to solve this cri­sis in In­dia and col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Min­istry of Drink­ing Water and San­i­ta­tion, NGOS like Water.org and de­vel­op­ment banks like the World Bank has sped up the process of mak­ing a Clean In­dia a re­al­ity.”

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