Proceedings of 22nd Foundation Day of
International Society of Environmental Botanist
Shivani Srivastana and Nandita Singh*
22nd Foundation Day of International Society of Environmental
Botanists (ISEB) was celebrated on 22nd December 2016 at
CSIR-NBRI Auditorium. On this occasion a programme was organized by
International Society of Environmental Botanists (ISEB) in which Prof.
(Dr.) Gourdas Choudhuri, Executive Director & Head, Department of
Gastroenterology & Hepatobiliary Sciences, Fortis Medical Institute,
Gurugram, Haryana was the Chief Guest. Prof. S.K. Barik, President, ISEB
and Director, CSIR-NBRI presided over the function.
At the beginning of the programme Dr. K.J. Ahmad made a brief historical
account of the ISEB and its contribution during the past 22 years. ISEB was
founded on 3rd December 1994 with just 28 members which has now
increased to 450 members both from India as well as abroad. He informed
that till date total 88 issues of ENVIRONEWS have been published by the
ISEB. ISEB has organized 5 International conferences (ICPEP) where more
than 100 overseas delegates were also the participants. The ISEB has been
organizing many outreach activities for environmental awareness. He felt
proud to declare that very reputed members are associated with the ISEB
such as VCs of universities, directors of institutes, professors and
faculty of universities, judges, environmentalists etc.
After that, the second issue of "International Journal of Plants &
Environment", a journal of ISEB, was released jointly by Prof. S.K. Barik
and Prof. G. Chaudhuri. Along with them Prof. R.S. Tripathi, Dr. K.J.
Ahamd, Dr. S.C. Sharma, Dr. R.D. Tripathi (Chief Editor of the Journal) and
Dr. Nandita Singh (Co-Chief Editor of the journal) were also on dais.
It was followed by a brief introduction of Prof. S.K. Barik, President ISEB
and Director CSIR-NBRI by Prof. R.S. Tripathi. He emphasized that Dr. Barik
has been leading a strong group of research at NEHU pursuing frontline
research in diverse areas such as plant diversity including
inventorization, bio-prospection, conservation of threatened species,
ecological modeling, eco-restoration of degraded ecosystems, climate
change, regeneration of forests etc. Prof. Barik has published >70
research publications and 11 books as an author, which are cited
extensively world-wide. He has been serving as Chairman/Member of several
Expert Committees/Task Forces constituted by Ministry of Environment,
Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Planning Commission, Department of
Biotechnology (DBT) etc. At the end Prof. R. S. Tripathi wished him good
luck for the future.
Following this Dr. S.C. Sharma, Vice-President of ISEB, introduced the
Chief Guest, Dr. Gourdas Choudhuri, as a leading gastroenterologist,
medical educator, researcher and columnist of national eminence, with rich
experience of over 30 years in the medical profession. He is currently
Executive Director and HoD, Gastroenterology & Hepatobiliary Sciences,
at Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurgram. He also told that over
the years, Dr. Choudhuri has been widely recognized in his field and was
the recipient of several honours and awards. Dr. Choudhuri has served as
Council member of international bodies such as the World Gastroenterology
Organization (WGO), Asia Pacific Association of Gastroenterology (APAGE)
and Coalition for Eradication of Viral Hepatitis from Asia Pacific
(CEVHAP). He has also been a Fellow of the World Health Organization (WHO)
for Health Promotion.
This was followed by foundation Day lecture by the Chief Guest, Dr. G.
Choudhuri on the topic
"Environmental Effect on Human Health - Searching for local solutions".
During the presentation Dr. Choudhuri started with the Microbial age
1879-1990, when most research was focused on microbes and disease. Then he
asked the audience what were the major causes of death in India? As a reply
he answered himself that Heart disease, malignancy and stroke were the main
causes of death. He said that about 65% of deaths are non-microbial in
India. Then he told that after Microbial phase came the Genomic phase for
health and diseases. According to him some diseases are purely genetic
diseases for example Retinoblastoma, Huntington's disease but many genetic
disorders result from gene changes within the body due to inborn errors of
metabolism. After Genomics he shifted the attention to Environment and
Health. He said that Pollution was the major cause of many diseases. Some
pollutants may be natural cause of disease like cholera and arsenic
toxicities, whereas some may be due to consequences of human habitation
like global warming, natural disasters. Further major causes are the man
made pollutants which are causing serious diseases these days. He gave the
example of air pollution caused by burning of crops etc. which has been
cause of many respiratory diseases in cities of North India this winter. He
said that type of environment is very necessary for living beings. This
also includes the internal environment which causes diseases like Schizophrenia and depression. In a healthy
environment people feel happy and happy persons live longer. Dr. Choudhuri
emphasized that the balance in lifestyle may cure a number of health
problems. He also gave a glimpse of the importance to plants in mitigating
the pollution and keeping the environment healthy. In the end Dr. Choudhuri
introduced the audience about his non-profit organization "HOPE Initiative"
which aims at creating awareness on health and environment related issues
in students and tries to reach out to the community through the
This was followed by Presidential remarks by Dr. Barik. He thanked Dr.
Choudhuri for his very informative presentation. He also agreed that
maximum environmental problems can be resolved by plants. He said that
every person should do plantation and promote others to do so. Dr. Barik
emphasized on collaborative research through which we could get good
technology and products.
As a token of love from CSIR-NBRI, Dr. Barik presented a plant based
memento to Dr. G. Choudhuri.
The programme was conducted very diligently by Dr. Seema Mishra.
The Foundation Day celebration was capped off with the Vote of thanks by
Dr. R.D Tripathi, Additional Secretary ISEB.
Plant Ecology and Environmental Science Division,
CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, India. E-mail: