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"Paper-Less Day," which began in Abu Dhabi (UAE), becomes a United Nations international annual celebration

2010.07.19 Aya Takahashi

June 3 has been designated the "Paper-Less Day" by Abu Dhabi's Environmental Agency. The activities have become so widespread that United Nations has decided to join in on the celebration starting 2011, designating June 15 as the next Paper-Less Day. The objective of the day is to encourage people to reduce paper use every year on this day in order to conserve environmental resources - i.e. minimize wasteful use of water and trees and CO2 emissions.

The "Paper-Less Day" began in 2008. To date, 141 organizations and academic institutions representing 126,756 individuals have taken part and contributed to reducing 4,287 kilograms of CO2 emissions in UAE. Fifty-eight percent of the people who registered on the website and took part in the day were from Abu Dhabi and 41% were from the other emirates, but there were also participants from other parts of the world such as India, Germany, U.S., and South Africa.

The official website introduces "10 Things You (participants) Can Do" such as "Don't buy newspaper... Read it online," "Think before you print something," "Follow the 3R's: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle" and "Send faxes electronically."

In addition, for academic institutions that find it difficult to reduce the number of copies made or printed the website offers other ideas to help them take part such as "Make paper bags from newspapers and donate it to shops with your school logo on it."

Inspired by the program, there are schools that began turning off lights in the classrooms or corridors during the morning unless absolutely necessary and using the Internet to pass out circulars, worksheets, and grades instead of using hard copies. What each individual can do may be small, but all such efforts may help make a big difference.

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Abu Dhabi,UAE (Asia/Oceania

Aya Takahashi

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