Posted by: ajmithra21 | May 17, 2011


It is hard to survive without paper. From bus ticket to flight ticket, from birth certificate to death certificate, from bills to court orders, from towels to toilet tissues. We see paper everywhere and in almost everything, paper is involved directly or indirectly. What if Paper was not invented? We would still be using palm scripts.. But, now we are on the verge of losing paper once and for all.

We use paper but did we ever think of how much we use or misuse them? When it comes to deforestation, we never think twice to point fingers at over population and industrialization. But, the truth is, the student community are the real culprits. This statement may sound harsh and rude, because, truth always hurts.

An imagination, if a student uses 10 A4 sheets each day, he would be using about 2000 sheets in one academic year. That is 200 working days multiplied by 10 A4 sheets. Which means each student will end up using about 30,000 A4 sheets in his/her life time as a student from first grade till graduation from college. One ream of paper is equal to 500 A4 sheets. So each student uses about 60 reams of paper in fifteen years from grade one to under graduation. One tree produces 16.67 reams of paper. This means, each student end up consuming roughly four trees during years of being a student.

It takes roughly 24 trees and 57,000 gallons of water to produce one ton paper. Every year, imagine about 5million students pass out from college in USA (well, it should be many more times in India and China), the consumption of paper by these out going students would end up losing about 20million trees. Now, when you calculate not only the amount of trees used to make paper for students but also the consumption of water used to produce paper, the loss is immeasurable. It may run to about a million trees, in the sense a big forest almost 10,000 acre big and billions of gallons of water, as big as a lake. Remember, each tree species is a home for about 10 to 30 dependant wildlife species and each ten year old tree stores up to 50,000 gallons of water. The presence of lots of trees is capable of raising the ground water level. That shows why we are the ground water level is going down each day. It does not end with water and trees alone, what about oil, chemicals like chlorine and fuel used in manufacturing paper? And the amount of trees used to manufacture pencil, rubber and toilet tissues. As we calculate on these lines, the result would be alarming.

But, the million dollar question is, did we ever try to comprehend the loss of forest due to the usage of paper by the student community? Or did we at least open their eyes to see the reality? Did we ever teach them how important it is to minimize the use of paper? It is not the student who should be blamed, but it is the teaching community which should put up their hands to take responsibility. When and how are we going to replace all these lost resources?

Even now it is not too late, each district can create a forest in the next five years if only the forest and education department could sit and plan together by appointing a day on which every student would plant a tree in a particular place ear marked by the forest department for a forest to be created. If this goes on a yearly basis, we can regain almost fifty percent of the lost forest in five years. But, “who is going to bell the cat?” A difficult question to be answered…

Save trees to Save our future…


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