From the thinnest tissue to the toughest cardboard box, there are almost as many different kinds of paper as there are uses for it. Paper as a resource and a commodity is especially useful in various spheres of our life. And so, it is essential for us to think of ways to conserve it, which is what my sister and I decided to do.
Paper is everywhere and when you consider its tremendous benefits, it is very clear that we must all continue to work together by recycling used paper and its products to do our bit for a cleaner and greener planet.
The initiative we participated in was organised by the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) and called ‘Recycle, Reforest, Repeat’. They intended to encourage residents of the UAE to recycle paper, which contributes to the restoration of land and soil that has been degraded by desertification, drought and floods.
The recycling of paper allows for sustainability through minimising carbon dioxide emissions and the number of trees that are being cut down, hence reducing the pressure on natural resources. Each tonne, or 1,000kg, of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 1,440 litres of oil, 4,000 kilowatts of energy and 26,500 litres of water, as stated by the US-based University of Southern Indiana.
Keeping this in mind, we set out to educate other people in our neighbourhood about the importance of recycling, by visiting them door to door. During this process, we were also able to collect 635kg of paper for recycling, with the support of friends, neighbours and family members.
Going by the earlier figures, this translates to saving at least 11 trees, 946 litres of oil, 6,000 kilowatts of energy and more than 17,000 litres of water!
Thus, the campaign not only facilitated paper recycling and reducing the trash being sent to the landfills, but it also ensured saving some precious resources of our planet. Additionally, we were able to effectively raise awareness on the need to rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle.
Gautam Kapur, a banker based in Dubai, was amongst those who we visited.
He said: “In contemporary times, when global ecology and environmental issues are vital for human well-being, saving trees from being destroyed becomes paramount. Paper recycling assumes a crucial methodology to save trees and must be encouraged. Let us all spread awareness in the community and work towards this noble objective together.”
Siyona Nagpal, a student based in Dubai, also participated in the recycling campaign.
She said: “It was a tremendous experience getting wholeheartedly involved with the campaign. It has made me aware that we need to exercise caution while using paper. Additionally, whenever we read the newspaper, clean out our files or empty a packaging box, we should not throw it in the trash; we should recycle it.”
Rajshri Mishra, a doctor based in Dubai and a keen recycler, said: “I feel that newspaper collection is a positive step for the environment. The number of trees cut down for the production of paper can be reduced. This innovative campaign will help in gradually changing the public mindset as seeing the children in the community undertake such a selfless service helps make the adults more environmentally conscious.”
Paper is so widely used, hence special attention must be given to its usage as well as recycling. However, the contrary is observed as people don’t think twice before throwing newspapers, magazines, bills and bits of paper in the garbage, without realising the grave consequences that their actions can have on the environment.
It is indeed appalling to note this habit as they do need to pause to think how this can have a disastrous impact on the world that we live in. Small acts can make a huge impact and I strive to highlight this fact through my community report. Recycling along with the judicious use of resources is the need of the hour!
There is a dire need to create awareness at the community level on the need to preserve the environment by engaging people in a constructive activity with a target to accomplish. We all need to make an effort not only to reduce the consumption of paper, but also to recycle the paper products we do end up using.
Let us all pledge to recycle in order to secure our green future on this planet.
— The reader is a pupil based in Dubai.
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