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Integrated Coastal Zone Management
 
 
 
 
 
 
Institute of Environmental Studies & Wetland Management (IESWM) was established in March,1986 with the primary objective of carrying out studies related to wetland functions and its ecology. It was set up initially with the name 'Institute of Wetland Management & Ecological Design'(IWMED) with a modest set up.But with dedicated manpower having a proper understanding and assessment of the environmental backdrop,tenacious approach,continuous visibility,consistent persuasion and close touch with all concerned authorities,it has developed its own ambit during this period.IWMED was the only Institute in this country dedicated towards research in this fragile acosystem.But, within a short span of time,the Institute became well known to the academic circle of our State and partly to different parts of our country and frequently been referred as “Wetland Institute”.

20 years period is not a long journey for any Institution of this kind.Even within this short span,to its cerdit,the Institute has carried out number of important studies which helped not only in conservation and management of this State,but several other States also.First ever wetland inventory of this State as well as that of State of Tripura were made in this Institute,as part of Nation-wide Wetland Mapping.The Institute can boast of preparing the only available digital Information System about Wetland in any individual State.Coastal Wetlands have been properly mapped and a detail database has been created.West Bengal is the first State to furnish Coastal Zone Management Plan based on the maps prepared by this Institute.As a mark of recognition,Ministry of Environment & Forest,Government of India declared this Institute as an authorised agency for demarcation of High Tide Line,Low Tide Line along the entire Indian Coast,thus upgrading it to a national stature.The maps prepared by this Institute helped many Government,Inter-governmental agencies and Industries to carry out their vision following proper environmental rules and regulations.

With time,the Institute also diversified its activities in several areas like measurement of water, soil pollution, development of pollution abatement technologies,preparation of EIA, rainwater harvesting, municipal waste management, hazardous waste management, biodiversity assessment and conservation etc. Innovation of technology helps in ushering in human development and comfort in life; simultaneously bringing with problem of environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity and unwise exploitation of natural resources. Institute has developed a state of art laboratory for chemical analysis for detection of all kinds of pollutants in soil and water. UNICEF has accredited it as a referral laboratory for helping the study of arsenic pollution in groundwater.Micro-biology referral laboratory with its latest equipment has been helping in detection and monitoring of soil and water qualityfor ecologicalically sensitive areas like Sundarbans or economically important areas like Tea Gardens of Terai.Bacteriological laboratory with on spot testing facilities help in detection of pathogenic contamination in fast foods like ice creams.Proper inventory of biological diversity may be attributed as the first step towards conservation and protection of bio-diversity in any area.Institute has already prepared detail bio-diversity register for the East Calcutta Wetlands,the ecological hot spot of this State.

Remote Sensing and GIS are the latest tools added to the dictionary of planning and management.State of Art remote sensing and GIS laboratories were augmented here.With the help of these techniques,the Institute,played and has been playing a major role in urbanisation planning and infrastructure development of West Bengal.State Governments from different corners of the country at times seek the expertise available in this Institute for their development.

Still now,agriculture is the major economic backbone of our country.Self-reliance of our country is dependant to a major extent on agriculture productivity.Even with so much advancement in irrigation,it is still a dependent variable on meteorological and climatic condition.Based on the remote sensing technology and rigorous ground truth survey,the Institute has developed a number of agro-climatic models for predicting the agricultural productivity of the state and has been doing it for quite sometime.Although,initially such predictions were restricted only for rice,later on cash crops like mustard,potato,even orchards etc were also included under the purview of this study.

Conservation of natural resources is one of the important pillars for sustainable development.Looking at next 50 years,Institute has initiated a separate programme for 'Rain Water Harvesting'.Roof-top rainwater harvesting schemes have been implemented in a number of schools,colleges,government buildings all over the State and especially in the drought prone areas like Purulia,Bankura and West Medinipur.A detail inventory of mangroves of Sundarbans has been created.A specific technique has been developed to make community mapping of mangroves and and regularly being monitored so as to identify any changes in community due to climate change.

Based on the various activities and work performed by the Institute,it was felt that the canvas of the Institute should be further broadened so as to make sufficient room for shouldering more responsiblities and felt need of the Society.Accordingly,the present name(i.e IESWM) with broader mandate was coined which came in vogue from April,2005.A seven-storied building of its own is nearing completion. Institute has now developed linkages with many national and international agencies.Students of several Universities and Institutions are regularly using its facilities for advancing their carriers.

Day by day,it is becoming more evident that ecological security is the only answer for social security,human development and sustainable growth.IESWM has to play a more important in coming days for guaranteeing environment security of this country as a whole and this State in particular.With support from all concerned,IESWM is sure to shoulder that responsibility for marching towards a better tomorrow.