10. Preparing a questionnaire

After talking to a few women in the train, I came back home and wrote down a few questions  that I mailed to a lot of people I know to which about some 32 people responded.

1. Do u have any idea about how many rivers do Mumbai have? u could take a guess…Could u name whichever ones you know.

2. You must have heard of the river Mithi. Yes? No? If yes, was it after the Mumbai floods in 2005?

3. Has this triggered some memory? Stories of being stuck up the entire night, walking home through waist deep water, staying back in office etc? Please mention very briefly any such experience you had during the deluge that year.

4. Are u aware of the state/condition of the river Mithi?

5. What is your view on the activities undertaken by the authorities to improve its condition? Do u think u are protected enough from any further cases of flooding in the coming monsoons.         

6. Give me your honest opinion on the subject we studied at school- ‘Environment Studies or EVS’  Do u think it is an important subject and necessary to study? Did it in anyway influence you? Did the textbook/ teacher suceed in sensitizing you to the environment?  (I realize now that this question is wrongly framed and it is very very biased in its tone. I used this questionnaire to see if more people confirmed to my personal opinion regarding EVS and that approach was maybe immature)


 7. Where do u get your drinking water from? Where does your shit go?

(I did not think up these two questions myself. I had read about an Indian film maker, Geetika Narang,  who  walked around Connaught Place in Delhi, asking random people these two simple questions. She is assisting Pradip Saha make a documentary: Faecal Attraction. Its on the death of the Yamuna. I found it very interesting and later added it to the questionnaire. Around 13 friends responded to it.


Question 1:

Out of 32,

out of 32, all of them had heard of mithi,

15 of them knew it before the floods. 15 came

3 ppl couldnt name a single river. they were completely clueless.

6 ppl could name more than two rivers. one among them could name all five rivers.

21 ppl could name only mithi.  of these, thought they couldnt name the others, 3 ppl made a guess that mumbai has  5 rivers. and abt 5 ppl said mumbai has 3 rivers.

Question 2:

out of 32,

15 had heard of mithi before floods and 15 found abt it post the 26 july 2005 floods and 2 could not remember when they heard of it.

Question 3:

out of 32,

15 of them were saved from any unpleasant experiences because they were ether at home or not in mumbai that day.

8 of them recounted stories of their parents, siblings or friends being stuck in the floods

9 of them recounted,  their own experiences of being stuck in the flood, walking home in waist deep water, water logging in their homes etc

Question 4:

out of 32,

9 people were unaware of the present state of mithi

23 ppl said mithi was badly polluted and like a drain/ gutter. abt 5 ppl had read reports in the newspaper about projects undertaken for its clean up, one guy mentioned that mithi was also narrowed in many places and one mentioned it being choked by constructions on it and one mentioned abt lots of ppl living on its sides.

Question 5:

out of 32,

11 ppl said they were not aware of activities underatken by the government to improve the state of mithi.

11 commented that they do not feel protected from flooding possibility in future. 2 from them said that with climate change, floods were inescapable.

some other responses-

about 6 said whatever govt is doing is not enough or working. the approach is not wholistic, needs a system change on broader levels. awareness required. one said nothing will work till settlements on its banks are rehabilitated.

5 talked positively abt the govt. on said that the road sewage and water proofing was drastically improved in his area while the other mentioned of clean up project of the river and building of a higher wall. one said bmc is trying but it will take them time. one said that bmc cleans the river before monsoons every year.

5-6 showed low belief in the govt. they mocked the govt about their fake promises, gulping tax money and undertaking a little clean up to show some activity happening. one of the guys questioned the need of metro and sea link- why not use water transport. another said that the drainage system is poorly maintained.

Question 6:

A majority agreed that environment studies is an important subject and necessary to make us responsible towards our environment. While abt 2-3 people felt that their teachers did influence them positively, the most common grievance was that the way it was taught was boring. learning from teachers and textbooks within four walls of the classroom did not have much influence. It was the most neglected subject, mostly done to clear exam and score marks. we still do not see any significant change in the way we understand environment and our role within it. For some, their parents were a source of inspiration and being exposed to certain people, movies or books helped develop a better perspective.
Question 7:
a) Source of drinking water-
out of 13,
abt 2 ppl said municipal corporation, 1 could not answer,
1 named his residence building and 1 said his filter in the kitchen.
8 of them mentioned the lakes among tulsi, tansa, powai, vihar and vaitarna
b) where does your shit go?
out of 13,
abt 2 ppl were clueless, 5 did not know where t went after passing through the sewerage and septic
tanks, 3 among them guessed that it could be a river or sea or ocean.
6 ppl specified it went nto the ocean or the arabian sea through through river mithi from the worli outfall/gutter.

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