BANGALORE: As the countdown to the next academic year begins, school students and parents are gearing up to get their bags, books and stationery in order. Tradition dictates that the books and notebooks be wrapped in brown paper and sealed with transparent tape on the inside. Thousands of sheets of brown paper are likely to be used up by the city students for the same reason. City-based entrepreneur Prashanth Sambargi, however, feels that this is a meaningless practice that is harmful to the environment.
"Let's assume three sheets of brown paper are used per student. Then for a school of 1,000 students, 3,000 sheets are used, for which nine trees need to be cut. It's ridiculous. In this day and age, when textbooks come with good quality covers, do we really need to waste so much paper in wrapping them?" he asks.
The thought hit him after he had purchased the books and stationery kit worth `4,000 for his son Adithya and realised that he would need more brown paper for wrapping the books. Seven-year-old Adithya, who studies at Sri Kumaran Children's Home, had then said, "So much paper will get wasted, daddy. They would have to cut so many trees!"
Prashanth then asked the school authorities if it was absolutely necessary for the notebooks to be covered in brown paper. "The principal said it was just an age-old custom. They admitted it was a large-scale waste of paper, and agreed to stop the practice from the next academic year," he says.
Later, Prashanth wrote to several other schools in the city about the issue and got an enthusiastic response from two of them.
"Children need to be taught the importance of protecting the environment. The teachers at my son's school have done a good job and Adithya does not even make paper rockets for fun. By creating awareness, we can eliminate this practice from our system for a better tomorrow," he says.