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Green group lambastes colleges over paper use
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As many as 5,600 trees might have been cut down last year in order to meet the demand for paper in the eight government-funded universities, a green group said on Friday.

Consumers Acting for People and the Environment, which has conducted a survey on the use of paper in local universities, criticized university managements and students for not doing enough to protect the environment and urged them to use less paper.

If it is necessary to use paper, they should use 100 percent chlorine-free recycled paper, the group suggested.

Between February and April this year, the green group sent questionnaires to the eight universities to obtain information on their environment policies and the use of paper.

Although most universities indicated they have guidelines on the use of paper, only the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Baptist University used 4.17 percent and 7 percent less paper respectively in 2006-07 than the year before, Vincent Ho, project officer of the green group, told at a press conference.

For student prospectuses alone, the quantity of paper consumed by the eight universities in 2006-07 was equivalent to 5,592 trees or 13.4 times the turf area of the Hong Kong Stadium.

The excessive use of paper in the eight universities is not a positive response to the pressing problems of global warming and eco-crisis, the group commented.

On the same occasion, Marcus Chau, general secretary of in-house green organization at the Hong Kong University Greenwoods, criticized that many student associations are using excessive paper when promoting their activities.

He said although a lot of pamphlets are being distributed via email, many students choose to print them unnecessarily.

Guest speaker Choy So-yuk, a member of the Legislative Council Panel on Environmental Affairs, said the government and universities should show a good example by using recycled paper.

Although recycled paper is slightly more expensive, the price can go down if more organizations are using recycled paper.

She further suggested universities formulate sustainable development policy, set up guidelines on the use of paper and standards to measure the achievement.

(China Daily HK Edition April 28, 2008)

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