Filmmaker’s New Endeavor Aims to Protect Wetlands

Professor and filmmaker Sanjeev Chatterjee launches website on World Water Day.

Coral Gables (March 26, 2012) — In celebration of World Water Day, School of Communication Professor and award-winning filmmaker Sanjeev Chatterjee (One Water) will launch a new website,, that explores important issues surrounding the endangered East Kolkata Wetlands, the largest multiuse wetlands in the world.

Sometimes called the “kidneys of Kolkata (Calcutta),” the East Kolkata Wetlands encompasses 30,000 acres and provides clean water through natural wastewater treatment and thousands of tons of fish and vegetables a day to people in the major city of Kolkata, India. More than 50,000 people depend on the wetlands for their livelihood. But in recent years the East Kolkata Wetlands has become a target of encroaching urban development despite being named a Ramsar site (wetlands of international importance) in 2002.

Chatterjee, an electronic media professor at the School of Communication, 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 all the stakeholders, including biologists, fish farmers, developers, and families living near the wetlands. His students have taken this issue to other young people, ages 18-25, in the U.S. and abroad, via social media on Facebook and are receiving hundreds of page views each week.

Chatterjee worked with the students in India as part of the Fulbright-Nehru Research Scholar Award he received last year.

He is an advocate for the global environment. During his recent role as director of UM’s Knight Center for International Media, which is committed to producing compelling visual media to solve the world’s most difficult problems, he co-directed One Water, an award-winning documentary about the worldwide water crisis that was broadcast on the Discovery Network’s Planet Green Channel.

A video created for the East Kolkata Wetlands project:

The Knight Center also supported Aguas Negras, a multimedia website about wastewater farming in Mexico City that first introduced Chatterjee to this issue and gained his interest to explore it further.

Chatterjee is currently producing and directing On Cities, a nonverbal short documentary film that explores imminent threats to contemporary cities around the world.

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Chatterjee worked with the students in India as part of the Fulbright-Nehru Research Scholar Award he received last year.

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