According to the cultural correspondent of Tasnim News Agency , the shortage of paper in the country is clear to everyone today. Despite having several paper mills in the country, Iran is strongly dependent on the import of printing and writing paper, although we have had some success in recent years in the field of producing Cellulose paper and packaging and are self-sufficient in this field today, but we have fallen behind of the production of printing and writing paper and newsprint due to mere this section.
The most important reason for not producing printing and writing paper was, firstly, the lack of suitable and available raw materials and, secondly, the lack of the culture of using domestic paper in recent years.
But for a while, there have been news of the opening of paper making mills from stone, the ones which produces paper from calcium carbonate. The support of the Ministry of Industry and the presence of the Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade in the inauguration of these mills are also interesting which may initially be gratifying for paper consumers and marketers and even sympathizers in the field. However, the construction of numerous factories for the production of paper in different parts of the country is worthwhile and can reduce and even stop Iran's dependence on imported paper in the long run, which in recent years has created many problems for importers, consumers and officials and caused billions of dollars to outflow from the country. But this is only the appearance of the story.
According to paper production experts, paper production from calcium carbonate and limestone has two sides of the same coin; one side of the coin is the production of paper and its supply to the market, a topic that has been a concern of culture and industry for many years. But on the other side of the coin is the irreparable damage that this production inflicts on the environment.
Abolfazl Roghani Golpayegani, the president of the Syndicate of Paper and Cardboard Manufacturers, is a critic of the production of lime paper. He has already warned about it and now is concerned about the epidemic attraction of industrial community to this field. Tasnim news agency had a conversation with him in this regard. In this interview, Roghani points to the background behind the production of paper from calcium carbonate and states the opposite reasons why it is now obsolete and rejected in most countries of the world. Below find the interview:
Tasnim: In the last one or two years, several factories have been built to produce paper from calcium carbonate. In the introduction of this method, it is said that the formula is in the hands of only a few countries, including Iran. What has been the reason for the prevalence of these constructions? Can we really become self-sufficient in paper production with this method?
Unfortunately, from time to time in our country, due to the lack of industrial development strategy and careful planning, there happen deviations in industrial performance. Our industry sector is affected by pasta production fever one day, cement production fever one day and... another day. In any case, we are witnessing the uncontrolled and fungal expansion of a number of industries in the country. On the other hand, unfortunately, we usually do not see any expert work and land use planning in these areas that we can hope that our industry has grown. That is why these industrial units, which are built without any expert work and comprehensive survey, get into trouble and become closed factories after a while.
A part of the reasons why we have 9,000 shut- down industrial plants today is due to the study problems that existed in the production process, we have not thought about production and its requirements, we have not looked into the sales market, and nor anything else. We only have turned money into machinery and iron, and the country's resources have been wasted and we have no income.
Returning to your question, the fever of paper making from calcium carbonate and lime has been rampant in the country for some time now, and wherever there is a lime mine, factories are being built to produce paper.
As the president of the Syndicate of Paper and Cardboard Manufacturers, I say that this industry, which is being pursued and popularized like fungi today, will soon be doomed to failure after a few years.
* Tasnim: Mr. Roghani, in recent years you have supported paper production fervently and wherever there was a discussion about paper production, you were also involved in it. Now what is wrong with producing paper from calcium carbonate or lime and you consider it to be doomed to failure?
There is a problem in the production of paper from lime, which causes irreparable damage to the environment. If the environment is important to us, if we fight against the heavy use of plastic, if we accept the various global treaties from Paris to Montreal, and if it is important for us to prevent environmental degradation, we must oppose the production of lime paper. Do not doubt that soon every factory that has been established in the country will face unwelcomed. The factories that are built to produce lime paper are against the environment.
Tasnim: Will you mention why paper production from lime is harmful to the environment?
In the production of these papers, there is a layer of plastic granules in the middle layer and both the outer sides of it are made of lime paste. This layer of granules is not absorbed in nature at all and is not recyclable, either. We only waste our lime resources. Since there are state-owned mines in the country, officials are creating equipment and facilities in the same mining environment to build a record, especially in these last years of government, to say that we have started to produce paper. Fortunately, the private sector has either not entered or has been very limited in this area.
Government competition for the production of paper from calcium carbonate
But there is a competition in the governmental sector that is rapidly moving towards paper production using lime and calcium carbonate, which has no effect other than destroying the environment. It targets the health of society, wastes the country's resources, and at the speed we are moving forward, a bleak future awaits us.
The Construction of 15 factories, each worth 40 billion tomans to destroy the environment
Tasnim: What is the scope of using lime paper production and how much has been invested in this field so far?
I do not know the exact number of factories built, but we have been informed that over 15 cases have been reported in the media. Given the dollar rate, 40 billion tomans must be spent for the construction of each factory. Multiplying the number of factories by this figure reveals a significant investment for a wrong action. In addition, more than 60 percent of the factories that have been built in the last few years have been shut down.
The Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade did not consult with us
Tasnim: Have you, as the head of the Syndicate of Paper and Cardboard Manufacturers and the head of the Industries Commission of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, not been consulted regarding the construction of these factories? Because it has been seen many times that the minister himself is present in the construction of these factories.
The law on improving the business environment requires the government to consult with the private sector in the field of industry. Not only have we not been consulted, but also we have announced our objection through the media and raised our reasons why this policy is wrong, but no attention has been paid to us.
I wish the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade had consultants to ask their opinion in the projects that it wants to launch, inaugurate or... Anyway, this is a wrong action, and we will see the result of these wrong measures in the coming years.
The environmental organization is careless
Tasnim: Do you know whether the Department of Environment has warned of or opposed these measures?
As far as I know, since these factories are being built near the mines as a development project, the Department of Environment has paid less attention to them. We have also said many times that instead of placing various obstacles in the import of wastepaper, they'd better pay attention to these. But no attention has been paid to.
* Tasnim: Is this technology used in the other countries of the world?
The Chinese first started making paper using lime, but they immediately stopped this process. In the category of paper production in the world, the production from lime has no place at all. However, unfortunately the fever of this issue is spreading and everyone is spreading it, and governmental officials are opening projects rapidly in Iran.
Tasnim: What was the reason for this expansion? Are there any special supports?
Because we have a lot of lime mines in the country, and these raw materials are free, it is very welcome, but we must note that this is a cancerous measure for the environment.