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Aussie runner campaigns for global water crisis

Afternoon Despatch and Courier 2018-12-07 00:00:00

To run 100 marathons for awareness

The world, primarily India, is headed for a major water crisis, as several Indians in rural and semi-urban areas continue to be denied access to the most basic resource... water. As natural water bodies (ponds, rivers and lakes) continue to rapidly dry up due to fast changing and adverse weather conditions, the situation is more than alarming.

48-year-old Mina Guli, Founder and CEO of United Nations recognised 'Thirst for Water' is in Mumbai to raise awareness about water – a rapidly depleting source and how it must be replenished and conserved in order to avoid an impending crisis looming at large.

The lawyer turned investment banker turned Australian social crusader believes that the current issue is not India's alone, but a global one.

Having run in five countries (New York, London, France, Italy and Uzbekistan, the sixth one being India) already, to spread the message, she hopes to one day achieve her goal of witnessing and living in a world where there is enough water for everyone. The international water advocate set out on her ambitious journey to undertake the individual challenge of running 100 marathons in 100 days to highlight the crisis. She has already completed more than 30 of the 100 marathons and interacted and experienced with farmers and several others who are directly impacted by the emerging disaster.

Assessing the current problem, 21 cities in the country are expected to run out of water and internationally, 600 million people will face stress due to the shortage. Human civilization is facing an unprecedented crisis, a projected 40 per cent shortfall in the availability of fresh water by 2030.

Guli concluded the Indian Marathon after running through various parts of Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujrat, ending at the iconic Gateway of India in Mumbai. Hong Kong and China will be her next stops.

“To meet children as young as 3 years old walking more than 2 kilometers a day to collect water has given me a real appreciation of just how precious water really is. Children of farmers will soon become water refugees and farmers are the worst affected. Also from a basic necessity point of view, one can live without food, but not without water. Over 60 per cent of water makes up the human body. People who resort to indiscriminate waste or usage of this precious resource need to be educated. I will keep running to raise awareness and want to develop solutions to solve this problem,” says Guli.

It is imperative for people to first realise that there is a problem before a time when the demand for water will exceed supply in near future. She has been meeting with local water heroes who are devoting their time and energy to making a difference to the global crisis – scarce water supply – within each of the regions she is visiting.

Guli was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, as one of Australia's most influential women, and by Fortune Magazine in 2016 alongside Angela Merkel, Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook and the Pope as one of the 50 greatest leaders in the world.