Paperless Day gets support from quarter of a million

ABU DHABI —Around 250,000 individuals, government organisations, NGOs, businesses and other groups including football clubs from around the UAE and the Arab world recently observed Paperless Day. The number of participants this year was almost double the number of participants last year, when 127,000 people helped avoid the release of around four tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere by taking part.

The Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) is currently calculating the results from 2011’s Paperless Day in terms of the numbers of trees saved and carbon emission avoided and expects to release the results in a week’s time. The EAD will also be publishing the full list of organisations that took part in the campaign.

“The enthusiasm and willingness we received from people around the UAE to participate in Paperless Day has been inspiring. Having a quarter of a million people participate is truly impressive. Paper production, consumption and disposal are one of the main contributors to greenhouse gas emissions that are responsible for the threat we face from climate change. Also, over 45 per cent of printouts are discarded the same day. We urge everyone to adopt steps to reduce their reliance on paper all year round, and to use Paperless Day as a way of showing friends and colleagues that using less paper really is possible,” said Khansa Al Blouki, Assistant Campaign Manager at the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi.

“We are currently receiving all the data from the participating organisations and are calculating the results in terms of numbers of trees saved and carbon dioxide emissions avoided. We plan to recognise everyone’s efforts in a ceremony in January,” she added.

In the months and weeks leading up to Paperless Day, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) had called on businesses, government departments, institutions and individuals to cease all unnecessary use of paper on that day.

The paper production process contributes to the destruction of forests world-wide. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the global conservation organisation, around 40 per cent of the world’s commercially cut timber is processed for paper. It also threatens the habitats of many rare and endangered plant and animal species. The paper production process also consumes vast amounts of water and discharges water pollutants, in addition to emitting large quantities of greenhouse gasses — the main cause of global climate change. The decomposition of waste paper also results in methane being released into the atmosphere, which is an extremely potent greenhouse gas. The EAD had asked people to register their participation on the Paperless Day website ( On the website, participants could gain tips for paper reduction through a variety of toolkits, and add in their paper savings from participating on the day which were automatically translated into savings of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.

Paperless Day 2011 was supported by a number of UAE organisations, including Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, General Secretariat of Executive Council, Abu Dhabi Education Council, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, Family Development Foundation, Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Ltd (GASCO), Masdar, Mubadala, Shell, BP, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Al Dar properties and Department of Transport.

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