November 22, 2018
Paper industry represented by Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA) has come out strongly against the perception being created by telecom providers linking paper to environmental concerns.
IPMA – Paper is biodegradable
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has received representations from telecom service providers requesting a review of the provision of the printed copy of the bill to post-paid subscribers and make Mobile Bill (M-Bill) or E-Bill as the default option. Telecom service providers and their associations have referred to “Environmental concerns relating to cutting of trees for papers used in printing of bills” as the main rationale for their demand.
TRAI has released a Consultation Paper on ‘Review of extant provision for sending the printed bills to consumers of landline and post paid mobile subscribers’ soliciting views of all concerned.
In a communication to TRAI, IPMA has stated that Paper is one of the most sustainable products and its usage is helping the cause of environment protection.
According to IPMA, the argument put forth regarding environmental concerns relating to cutting of trees for paper used in printing of bills is completely fallacious. While there may be other reasons to move towards digitisation, it should not be linked to felling of trees and environment protection.
Approximately 75% of the paper produced in India is from waste / recycled paper or agricultural residue as the primary raw material which contributes towards protecting the environment. The balance 25% is produced using pulp wood, over 90% of which is sourced from agro / farm forestry. Paper Industry in India is not a forest based industry but an agro / farm forestry based industry engaging approximately 5 lakh farmers from whom the industry’s wood requirement is sourced.
Growing and harvesting of these planted trees, which are called “Trees Outside Forest” (TOF), has generated substantial employment and increased income of the farmers in rural India. Majority of the wood is grown in backward areas and marginal land which is potentially unfit for cultivation.
Intensive efforts by the Paper Mills over the last several years have cumulatively brought about 900,000 hectares under plantation and 125,000 hectares are covered under agro / farm forestry on an annual basis.
In fact, to meet the national endeavour of doubling farmers’ income, farm forestry model is one of the key tools to be pursued not only by the industry but also by the Government, IPMA has stated in its communication.
IPMA has rued the fact that damage to the environment by e-waste and the other effects of digitalisation are always underrated and Paper Industry, which is greening the country, has been suffering because of the negative publicity i.e. “usage of paper leading to cutting of forests”.
According to IPMA, paper is bio-degradable, renewable, recyclable and sustainable made from planted trees. Growing and harvesting trees provides jobs to lakhs of people, especially in rural areas, working forests support the environment, providing clean air, clean water through increased rainfall, wildlife habitat and carbon storage.