Cut down on paper use

The return of the haze is a timely reminder of how human action can affect the environment, which, in turn, affects how humans live.

To cut down on harmful effects to the environment that ultimately come back to haunt us, we should all try harder to conserve our limited resources, including reducing our use of printed paper.

On an individual basis, we can all try to conserve paper by opting for online or e-mailed bank statements, and so on, instead of the traditional printed statements sent to our homes.

On a larger societal basis, most workplaces and offices are actually well equipped with the technology and know-how to save most of their documents in soft copy format onto their existing computer servers, desktops or external hard drives, and do not require printed paper copies.

Companies and organisations can help promote this practice by slowly encouraging their staff to switch to using soft copy documentation, instead of using printed copies.

If the demand for paper products is slowly reduced, the demand for paper pulp-related inputs, such as trees and other forest shrubs, will also be reduced, cutting down on deforestation.

On an individual, small-scale micro-level, one may not think it will make much of a difference.

But on a larger, national macro-level, there really will be a big difference.

Remember that at some point in the course of our work, we will receive e-mail messages which say, "print only if necessary, think of the trees".

Well, that's just what we need to do from now onwards.

Harold Teng Siow Song (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2015, with the headline 'Cut down on paper use'. Print Edition | Subscribe