‘Do you want to commit suicide” The powerful question is thrown at the Kolkatans in a thought-provoking documentary that sends out a strong message on how the city could be hard hit in about half a century as a result of rising water levels due to climate change.
The 33 minute bi-lingual documentary ‘Kolkata 2070’ – screened at the Bharat Chambers on Tuesday – revolves around the theme “The City is Sinking” and talks about the irresponsible behaviour of the people in a Ametropolis that ranks high among 40 Asian cities in terms of carbon emission.
Besides, land filling of water bodies, construction of high rise buildings, and random disposal of plastic waste in rivers are clogging the sewage system and creating a severe imbalance in the environment. The sea level rise has already submerged regions of Sunderbans – the world’s largest mangrove forest – which has resulted in massive migration and loss of livelihood for the locals.
Directed by Suman Mukhopadhyay, and co-produced by the Centre for Contemporary Communication (CCC) in association with the German Consulate General in Kolkata, the documentary is a wake-up call for authorities to make collaborative efforts towards embracing clean energy and adopting novel technology that would leave lesser carbon footprint.
“When I came to the city eighteen months ago, I felt it’s a great city but it has some issues. Huge buildings are being built where formerly was a stream or a park and the waterways are slightly polluted,” German Deputy Consul General in Kolkata Jurgen Thomas Schrod told IANS.
“We are in the middle of the water crisis as the Ganges, and the Hooghly have a high grade of salination and all the water-treatment plants find it immensely difficult to cope with it,” he said.
“I think it is about time to address these issues and problems and make people aware. We have already started with schools and tried to interact with students and step by step we are trying to interact with the politicians and the decision-makers.”
Centre of Contemporary Communication Aexecutive director Mallika Jalan virtually echoed Schrod.
“I have been working on the issues of climate change in Kolkata since 2010 and my main concern has been that people the city are not engaging in these issues,” lamented Jalan.
“Every individual living in the city has to think how much he or she can give and my motivation to make the film was to talk to the people about the environment and climate change,” she added.
The script and the storyline are based on established scientific evidence and documents including World Bank reports on climate change for Kolkata.
The choice 2070 as the year in which the imaginary scene of inundation is shown to take place is based on predictions in these documents.
Veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee has anchored the documentary, with some narrations by singer-composer Kabir Suman.