Fulbright Supports Wetlands Documentation

Filmmaker leads global sustainability media project in India

Each day 13,000 tons of fish are harvested from the wetlands and sold to markets in the city. Student Souvik Lal Chakraborty and Professor Sanjeev Chatterjee film the endangered East Kolkata Wetlands, the largest multiuse wetland in the world that provides clean water, fish, and vegetables to the people of Kolkata, India.

The 30,000 acres of India’s East Kolkata Wetlands—sometimes called the “kidneys” of Kolkata— provide clean water through a natural wastewater treatment system, supply thousands of tons of fish and vegetables daily, and support the livelihoods of more than 50,000 people. Still, the designated Ramsar site (wetlands of international importance) has become endangered in recent years by encroaching urban development. School of Communication professor and award-winning filmmaker Sanjeev Chatterjee received a Fulbright-Nehru Research Scholar Award last year and spent six months working with students at Jadavpur University in India to produce multimedia stories and videos about the plight of the East Kolkata Wetlands. They interviewed biologists, fish farmers, developers, and nearby residents, among others, and used social media such as Facebook to bring their stories to young people around the world, ages 18 to 25. Chatterjee is currently producing and directing a short documentary on imminent threats facing contemporary global cities. He was executive producer of Bangladesh: A Climate Trap, part of a larger project called One City at the Knight Center for International Media at the University of Miami, and co-director of the award-winning One Water documentary.

    To see a video from the East Kolkata Wetlands project, visit http://dotsub.com/view/c311974e-6b1e-4bb0-ac44-1a85d9e74ac9. The website, launched for World Water Day on March 22, is http://kolkatawetlands.org. The Facebook page is www.facebook.com/pages/East-Kolkata-Wetlands/189007324504890.