SCINENCE IN THE FOG CATCHER
Updated: Aug 29, 2021
Droughts are a common occurrence in rural India, due to low rainfall and high dependence on monsoons. The limited piped water supply is inaccessible to the poor and the marginalized communities. However, in these dry hilly ranges, the wind pushes fog inland from the coastal regions. Jagah observes atmospheric water being captured as water droplets on a spider’s web. Inspired by the idea, he constructs a fog collector – a net mesh mounted on two posts fixed in the ground, positioned perpendicular to the prevailing wind so as to capture water when fog sweeps through it. As water is collected on the mesh, the water droplets, due to gravity, trickle-down and drip into a gutter at the bottom of the net from where they flow into a jar.
Jagah’s scientific inclinations challenge the Water Lord and the monopoly he has created based on the oppressive caste system and bonded labour for water. The story highlights the interplay between ecology and casteism and is based on my experiences as a documentary filmmaker in the arid rural villages of North India. Jagah and Jugnu represent village children I have met who perceive life in plants and see value in everything, including trash, despite their underprivileged socio-economic environment. The curious, intelligent, fun-loving kids love exploring and making tools and toys from limited resources.