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Pakistan: 49,600 trees cut down for ballots

In Pakistan, 2,170 tons of paper was used for the preparation of ballots as well as other documents used in the recent general elections in the country and 49,600 trees were chopped down for this purpose. As per The Express Tribune report,in the 2018 general elections, 800 tons of paper was used for printing the ballots.This time, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had estimated that 2,170 tons of paper was required for printing the ballots for this year’s general elections.
According to environmental expert Dr Usman Ali, hardly any paper is produced in Pakistan.He explained that the country lacked the resources to set up such an industry, adding that Pakistan imported the product because cypress trees were needed to make good quality paper.Dr Ali elaborated that a country must have 25% trees in terms of its area but Pakistan had less than 4%. The environmental expert said if 2,170 tons of paper were used for ballots, about 70,000 trees would have been cut down to obtain this amount.He continued that one ton of paper required 1,700 kilogrammes of wood, 80 tons of water, and 5.7 kilowatts per hour of energy. Dr Ali said as the product was imported in Pakistan, used paper as well as cardboard was recycled for the ballots.
Some political parties had proposed using electronic voting machines (EVMs) instead of ballot papers for 2018 general elections.But the proposal was rejected even though this method could have saved paper and the vote counting process would have been completed in real time.


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