The Glass Is Half-Filled At All Pune Restaurants, In A Bid To Save The Planet

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If you are waiting for your food at a restaurant in Pune, the waiter might serve you only half a glass of water. Before we mentally anticipate a negative feedback or embark on a philosophical thinking spree about the old half-full, half-empty paradox, we should know the truth.

With the city confronting a severe water shortage, nearly 400 restaurants and eateries across Pune have unanimously decided to curb water wastage at the root. From now onwards, they will serve only half-filled glasses of water at a time. Also, they will not refill your glasses unless you specifically request.


Steps taken by Pune Restaurant and Hoteliers Association (PRAHA)

President of Pune Restaurant and Hoteliers Association (PRAHA), Ganesh Shetty shared with PTI that adopting this policy of ‘half-filled water glass’ in his restaurant is allowing them to save 800 litres of water every day, reported BBC News. About 100 millilitres of water is wasted per customer on an average, which adds up to a substantial water wastage at the end of the day. Henceforth, only half glasses of water will be served, and leftover, if any, will be filtered to water plants or clean the floors. Special containers will also be provided where a customer can pour his or her excess water, to be reused later in other secondary purposes. Similar measures were adopted by the association two years ago as well when Pune was undergoing a drought-like condition. “For two months in February and March, our water supply was reduced by half. We got water once in two days,” Shetty recalled.

To garner widespread awareness, the association is printing ‘theme cards’ which will be displayed at restaurants for the customers’ understanding and cooperation. These cards will be distributed among 4000+ restaurants and hotels across Pune.


Other water conservation measures by hotels

“We will now discontinue the practice of topping up the glasses every time they take a few sips. Instead, we would ask them if they need a refill,” declared a lounge owner in Koregaon Park, Pune, talking to The Times Of India.

Poona Guest House has undertaken another innovative measure to save water. Instead of taller steel tumblers, they are serving water in smaller-sized glasses. Some of the restaurants are also planning to promote the use of packaged drinking water in place of free water to curb wastage and convey the message that water is a valuable necessity.

Not only drinking water, but some restaurateurs have also gone a step ahead by controlling the water flow from washroom taps.

“Every drop is precious and we have to act now if we want to save the future,” Shetty was quoted by BBC.

At a time when many parts of the country are battling water crisis, such a move is highly appreciated. Efforts For Good hopes such measures are replicated across all cities in India.


Also Read: ‘Happy Fridge’: The Key To Bridge Food Wastage And Hunger Problem In India

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MyStory: “Two Months After I Joined IIT For My PhD I Was Diagnosed With TB”

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A person suffering from Tuberculosis (TB) not only battles the ‘Mycobacterium tuberculosis’ bacteria inside his lungs but also from the stigma attached to the disease. It weakens the patients in many different ways in their fight against the dreaded disease.  

My fight with TB was also filled with stigma. I joined IIT Kharagpur for my PhD in January 2015. Two months later, in March 2015, I was diagnosed with TB. I had to take sick leave from March 2015 that eventually lasted till June 2016. Initially, I did not respond well to medication. Further tests revealed that I had multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB). This meant that the type of TB I had was resistant to two or more of the antitubercular medication I was taking.

About a year after the intensive phase of my treatment, I felt better and applied for readmission to IIT in July 2016. A prerequisite for rejoining was that my faculty members had to verify my application. With the formalities completed, I resumed my education, but I felt that something was amiss. 

My guide indicated that he did not want his work to suffer on account of my illness. I also heard from a senior colleague that my guide had said that I would spread the disease like an ‘infested animal’. I was disheartened at being subjected to this indignity by my supposed mentor.

However, my primary concern was defeating TB, so I didn’t dwell on it. Today, as I reflect on it, I realise the reasons behind the stigma were ignorance as well as fear.

Even among the educated, there are misconceptions about TB. People think all forms of TB are contagious. Others believe the patient is infectious for the entire length of the treatment. Some even believe that TB spreads through touch. This breeds the fear of contracting the illness.

As we know, people stigmatise and discriminate when they fear. I felt the impact of the stigma on two levels – in my professional life and my personal life.

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Professionally, the reluctance of my supervisor to mentor me and his discouragement affected me. I could not decide whether I should wait for the IIT authorities to tell me to leave or drop out. That decision was made for me by luck when I found out that my CSIR grant application was never processed. 

This meant that I would have to pay for my education. Given the expenditure on my treatment, this was unaffordable for me. This was the final nail in the coffin. I was forced to drop out and could not go back to completing my PhD.

What I faced was not technically illegal. I was discouraged from doing my PhD, but it was still a form of stigma. The external stigma I faced led to depression and isolation. 

Eventually, I realised I had to fight. The treatment for TB is difficult, requiring strict compliance and the management of side effects, and these demands resolve. I began motivating myself. I began following a proper diet and completing my treatment to ensure I could recover. I also turned to books as they transported me to other worlds and helped with my isolation. I also focused on reviving my old relationships.

Gradually, things improved. I could not proceed on my desired career path, but I am an educator now. I constantly realise that I have a role to play in shaping young minds. 

Workplace stigma has tangible consequences. It affects an individual’s career, financial opportunities and their right to work with dignity. So what can we do to address this stigma? 

First, we need to sensitise people by educating them about TB, and the impact stigma has on patients.

Another measure is group counselling involving the patient, the employer and the immediate supervisor. Informal versions of these sessions happen in the workplace in the context of illnesses like cancer. Why should it be any different for TB? 

The goal of this session would be to ensure that the patient is in a supportive environment. 

Finally, at a systemic level, there needs to be a workplace policy on stigma mitigation and a mechanism where the patients can anonymously register their concerns about stigma at the workplace.

A person’s career or job is often their calling and a provider of financial security. Workplace stigma creates a hostile work environment, affecting a person’s ability to do their job and their financial security. Financial insecurity and stigma make it harder for the patient to fight TB both in terms of means and motivation. Therefore, addressing stigma in the workplace is critical to patient well-being and recovery but also to their right to work with dignity.

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