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Vasundhara, the Environmental Film Festival at IISER  Jan 31, 2015

Last week, a section of the Kirloskar Vasundhara International Film Festival (KVIFF) took place on campus. Every year, films centered on the environment and related issues are screened at the KVIFF. Alongside, activities like lectures by eminent environmentalists, panel discussions, and awareness programmes are also organized.

Three short films were screened in the IISER Pune chapter of the festival, followed by a talk by Mr. Dunu Roy, Director, Hazards Centre, New Delhi.  The event opened with “A Story of Bottled of Water”, a film that outlined how the demand for bottled water – which is, in fact, extremely detrimental to the environment – is “manufactured” using clever advertising gimmicks. The next one was a short documentary showcasing the diversity and beauty of life on earth. It also paid a tribute to those who lost their lives fighting for the cause of the environment. The third film was about the dangerous and far-reaching effects of pollution. It showed how albatross birds on a remote Pacific island midway between Asia and North America, are getting affected by plastic and garbage that is disposed irresponsibly thousands of miles away.

A still from the film Mid-way

Mr. Dunu Roy gave a hard hitting account of the ground reality about pollution norms in India. Citing examples from various industries, he illustrated how in our day-to-day life we are likely to come into contact with hazardous chemicals at levels that are beyond permissible limits. He stated that mankind itself is the biggest victim of the gross environmental negligence that is being perpetrated today and emphasized the need to consider humans in every conservation effort. He underlined the disconnect that exists between the affected parties and the policy makers who set the standards for various measurements of pollution. He urged the audience to take a stand and get involved with environmental causes at the grassroots level. The lecture was followed by a lively discussion where the role of society, particularly the scientific community, in environmental conservation was discussed.

Mr. Dunu Roy

The event was organized by PRUTHA, a green initiative started by IISER Pune students with the aim to spread environmental awareness among the IISER community. PRUTHA has been working to make IISER more eco-friendly. They have recently installed collection bins at various places in the campus for segregating plastic and paper waste. Paper sorting sessions are organized to encourage people reuse one-sided paper and reduce the use of fresh paper whenever possible. They also advocate the use of coffee mugs in place of plastic or paper cups in an endeavor to reduce the garbage footprint of the institute.

-Reported by Apurva Barve; Photo credits: Sudha Rajamani