‘Standing up for the planet’: An interview with climate activist Partho Chatterjee

Photo of Partho Pratim Chatterjee
Left Partho Pratim Chatterjee; right: Ariana Yekrangi. Photo: Zoom

Tell me a little about yourself, Partho. What is your background? Where do you live?

I am Partho Pratim Chatterjee, a citizen of India and a member of UN-aligned. I hail from the mineral rich eastern state of Jharkhand. I am an engineer by profession and working in the capacity of Co-Founder and Technical Advisor of Aditya Bioinnovation Private Limited, Nagpur, India. I have a keen penchant for eco-friendly technologies which include clean nanofluids, clean energy and clean transportation. My hobbies include penning poems and biodiversity exploration. 

Earlier this year, you submitted your poetry ”An Ode to Environmental Restoration” for UN-aligned’s poetry competition. How did you hear about UN-aligned?

I feel lucky to have come across your venerated organization via Google Search.

I had an avid interest in poetry right from my childhood. I feel that poetry is an endearing medium for emancipation of nature, which I feel is currently in the doldrums. I was looking for a platform to publish my poems and spread my ideas at the global level. 

Could you tell us a little about your poem An ode to environmental restoration?

Poems for a Better World: An Ode to Environmental Restoration 

My poem reiterates the adage “Think Globally, Act Locally”. I think this adage is of significant relevance in the current era where temperature rise has reached 1 degree centigrade. We are already witnessing the catastrophic effects of climate change which is manifesting itself in the form of floods, droughts, cyclones etc. 

The poem commences with the catastrophic effects of climate change like floods, droughts, cyclones etc. In the second part, I have discussed possible solutions to these problems and how humanity can prevent those problems from exacerbating. These solutions include solar-wind hybrids, hydrogen powered cars and so on. 

Do you consider yourself an environmental activist?

I contribute towards providing care for repudiated and ailment stricken animals. I also love to spread the message of adoption of eco-friendly technologies among the educationally and socially backward sections of our society. I also promote the concept of urban afforestation to augment natural carbon sinks. 

What do you think the Indian government and the international community can do to tackle the topic of clean technologies? 

It is imperative for governments to enact policies to extol the adoption of clean technologies. I think that a great leap in this regard can be made by implementing a merit order based dispatch mechanism. 

Electricity, as we know, is one of the prime movers of the economy for clean power sources.  Apart from the environmental benefits in the form of low pollution, the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE ) can also be reduced. As electricity is the prime mover of our economy, this can have a multiplier effect on our economy. 

Therefore, apart from the low pollution part for clean energy technologies, the production cost is also lowered. Coming to the clean energy sources, these include solar, wind and hydropower. We need to ensure through suitable policy interventions that they get priority over polluting sources like coal. 

Machines for Development and The Environment — How Machines help us lead more sustainable & efficient lives

Here the governments can play a major role. If governments across the world implement mechanisms like Carbon Tax, we would find that coal becomes costly i.e. the cost of production of  a unit of electricity from coal increases. That is where clean technologies will automatically come into the fray. I think this needs to be approached from the part of policy.

What are some of the activities that you want UN-aligned to focus on and how do you think UN-aligned could help people in India to protect the environment?

I think that UN-aligned can contribute significantly to environmental protection in India. As we know, India is a country with a myriad of languages, cultures and diversity. We know that “Geography and Diversity go hand in hand”. I think UN-aligned can develop strategies in consonance with the prevailing geographies. For example, in the forest  areas, it can conduct awareness drives to use stubble, twigs etc. for biogas production rather than using it for cooking food. 

We already know that pulmonary ailments are associated with the latter, due to the emission of PM 2.5 and NOX. People need to be made aware of these issues because we know that ignorance is a curse. We have to make people aware of the side effects of these because we find that many people in rural areas suffer from pulmonary disorders and this is primarily because of wooden stoves which they fire using firewood. 

We have to educate people that use firewood for cooking food and direct them to biogas production units instead. UN-aligned can play a major role in coral restoration also. We know that corals are known as the rainforests of the ocean. 

If we can augment the coral cover, marine biodiversity can get enriched on its own. In this regard, UN-aligned can educate people living in the littoral areas: You are the people, you have to take the responsibility. People cannot leave everything to the governments if they want to make environmental restoration a success. 

So, I think UN-aligned can conduct awareness programs and train people on how the biorock accretion technology functions. We can have Floating Solar Photovoltaics in the oceans and we can install the biorock accretion mechanism and  power them using solar power. 

UN-aligned can train people on these things and we would find that once the coral cover gets augmented then automatically biodiversity in the ocean would get enhanced. 

  • The following interview was conducted on the 29th of November 2021.

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