Let us spare a thought for the environment before using a tissue paper

Like many , I , too, started taking pride in using tissue paper liberally as napkin, kitchen towel and wipes. Where one or two napkins could serve the purpose, I would use and throw away a stack of tissues mindlessly. I didn’t mind grabbing quite a few of them for drying hands in a public toilet at a Mall or a restaurant. I would prefer using a tissue towel to a reusable cloth for cleaning the kitchen shelf and a table top.

I continued to use tissues irresponsibly till a thought provoking video that popped up on my mobile phone screen opened my eyes. I was shocked to learn that around 27,000 trees are cut down every day globally just to make tissue paper. I realized how much damage our ‘use and throw’ habit was causing to the environment. Besides the felling of trees, a huge volume of water is used to make tissues which are to be thrown away after single use.

More damaging is the obsession with soft tissues, which are made from virgin-fiber (freshly cut trees), rather than recycled paper. Soft tissue paper is harder on environment in terms of use of water, energy consumed and the emission of greenhouse gases as compared to tissues made from recycled paper.

We must save trees to save the environment. Trees are a fountainhead of oxygen and water, without which life is inconceivable. Like lungs, trees help cleanse air of pollutions and act as a barrier against floods and also help in moderating global temperatures. As we carry out a tree plantation drive in the month of July, we cannot ignore the significance of saving trees from being chopped for various purposes. Paper is largely made from wood, for which trees are cut down extensively. By saving all kinds of paper, including ‘one time use’ tissue paper, we can help save trees.

Considering their huge environmental impact, we must minimize the use of tissues as far as possible and refrain from demanding soft and ultra-soft tissues. Why ape the West and adopt alien habits which are not eco-friendly? Sticking to our traditional reusable options should not be hard. Even if we must use tissue paper, we should do it efficiently, avoiding wastage. Why use half a dozen tissues, when one is good enough? Instead of tissue paper, we can use a hand dryer, wherever and whenever available, in public toilets.

We must realize that most environmental problems, including the  devastation caused by the recent floods in the northern states, directly and indirectly, are the result of man’s action or inaction which can be traced to people’s  insatiable greed, blatant negligence and sheer indifference. Let us not dwell in the false belief that someone else will save our environment. Let us all own responsibility and do our bit to save the earth. The least we can do is not to waste paper of any kind, and think twice before using tissue paper.

(Published in The Tribune dated 21 July as Middle)

20 Replies to “Let us spare a thought for the environment before using a tissue paper”

  1. Rama dear , your article is a wake up call for one and all whether in India or anywhere else in the world!. I always shudder at the thought of unmindful use and wastage of paper in any form because mother nature does not spare the guilty…it must punish in one way or the other. …It is imperative to mind ourselves and create awareness as much as we possibly can….
    Very well expressed …keep sending SOS messages through your magic wand.

    1. Absolutely, not just tissues but callous use of paper is unjustified and for that matter wastage of all kinds must be avoided.
      Thank you dear Mrs Dhawan for your constant support and encouragement . 🙏

  2. Unconsciously we all contribute to pollute the environment.
    There are certain products which use elephant dung instead of wood pulp. These are not very soft but useful.
    Thanks for making people aware.

    1. Grateful to you dear Mrs Rahi for reading and leaving your comment. You are right we tend to pollute environment unknowingly many a times .Spreading awareness is of nelp in checking this kind of pollution but will not be of much use when environment pollution is the result of people’s greed.

      Thanks for the information on the use of elephant dung for making tissue that I was unaware of .

  3. Rama your article has articulated number of silent voices that Mother Earth is exploited by sometimes in the name constructing skyscraper buildings or sanitation. Jungles are cut for making daily use tissues Which are used unscrupulously in restaurants , hotels and airports toilets etc. In our age hands were washed twice or thrice after going to bathroom or eating food and gargles were done. How healthy this practice was . Use of tissues leads to number of ailments for not having proper sanitation. I strongly feel that Rama that tissues should be totally depleted so that they may not deplete our resources

    1. Thanks dear Mrs Chopra for your inputs . Oh yes, ‘use and throw’ tissues has never been part of Indian culture. We still abhor the use of toilet paper but for other purposes our demad for tissues has gone up significantly.

      Also, at restaurants, hotels , airports and in parties where the use of tissue paper doesn’t directly pinch our pocket , there is excessive mindless use of tissues. People tend to forget enormous cost to the environment.

  4. Rama it’s really really very important for all of us to contribute our bit in saving trees,saving water and growing plants. To save mankind from natural calamities we must be kind towards nature otherwise we must remember that destruction begets destruction. Responsible and sensitive writers like you are inspiration for many of us. Proud of you my dear keep the good work going on🙏

    1. Well said Neelam ,”Destruction begets destruction”. True, if we destroy nature , we are bound to face the consequences in the form of global warming, climatic change , freaky weather conditions with huge ramifications.
      In gratitude Neelam dear for your insightful comments and also your encouragement.❤️

  5. Good morning Rama,
    I enjoyed reading your very articulated article on the issue of saving trees and to reduce the use of paper in general or in our daily life. You are trying to awake the general public and to educate them at the same time which I admire. However there is a lot we can do collectively from a layman to the government officials. We can cut down on bureaucracy, reduce the print paper (memo pads,dockets list goes on)by saving on folders.
    Government needs to get involved in this initiative too. There we’re beautiful trees from Jalandhar Cantt to Hoshiarpur on both sides of the road which we’re embracing each other at the top in form of an umbrella. These trees have all been cut to widen the road. But there was no forward planning from the highways or government to grow and plant trees to replace them.
    I didn’t want to write this on our group. Hope you will understand. Please keep writing your articles and forwarding it. I enjoy reading them.
    Manjit MInhas

    1. Thanks Manjit for the beautifully worded comprehensive analysis. I know there are umpteen ways in which we can do our bit for the environment. But then given the limitations of the MIDDLE format , I could take up only one issue – the reckless use of tissue paper .

      Thanks you once again for reading and posting your comment .

  6. Excellent and timely piece, Rama. You should post it on MyGov App as a contribution to the Prime Minister’s LiFE (Lifestyle For Environment)

  7. Rama., this information should be send across the environment that the wasteful manner in which we use this item has directly and indirectly a telling effect on the environment. The exponential use of this item in the last two decades in India has majorly come about courtesy people coming to our country from the western and European countries.as also the Hotel Industry has brought in indiscriminate use in toilets, kitchen and serving tables. I am also a culprit in this usage and herby take my hands off from this denaturing product of planet Earth.

    1. Like you , I too had been guilty of using tissue paper mindlessly till I saw a thought provoking video on the impact of tissues on environment.Now I think twice before using a tissue paper in any form .
      Sometimes we are harming our environment out of sheer ignorance.Now that we know the consequences, we can minimise the use of tissue paper.
      Thanks Narinder for sharing your views .

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